Interview with Dr. Nma Bida, a Veterinary Epidemiologist by Dr. Ameenah Salihu
It’s the 15th day of March, 2021 and I am filled with motivation. I have an appointment with Dr. Nma Bida of the Epidemiology unit, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Minna, Niger State. I cannot wait to hear what he has to say about the state of affairs of Veterinary Medicine in Niger State.
Dr. Ameenah Salihu: Tell us briefly about yourself, sir
Dr. Nma Bida: I am Dr. Nma Bida, I am an Epidemiologist. I have a doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM), and a Masters and PhD in Epidemiology.
Dr. Ameenah Salihu: As an epidemiologist, what do you think veterinarians should be doing to heighten the relevance of their practice in the society?
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Dr. Nma Bida: As an epidemiologist, we are more of field workers in disease surveillance, we are more concerned with disease surveillance, that is… we monitor diseases especially infectious diseases in the state, and then… there is also an addition now, antimicrobial resistance has been added to the monitoring and surveillance of diseases. We go to the field to get information, most especially passive surveillance because resources are not available for active surveillance.
Dr. Ameenah Salihu: In your chosen area of practice, what is your experience so far?
Dr. Nma Bida: I have encountered some challenges and some prospects. As far as we are concerned now in Nigeria, our greatest challenge is security because we are field workers and you cannot go out now to some parts of the state, especially the northern parts to get information because of the security challenge. So, we are restricted to only the southern part of the country.
Dr. Ameenah Salihu: Have you experienced any setbacks before? If yes, how were you able to bounce back?
Dr. Nma Bida: As a said earlier, setbacks is part of life, but as trained professionals, we always have ways of taking care of challenges or whatever problems we experience in the field. As we have limited resource, we have to prioritized our activities and make use of the limited resources we have.
Dr. Ameenah Salihu: What do you think about the state of veterinary practice in Niger state?
Dr. Nma Bida: It is still fair. People are still keeping animals so we are still working. The only thing… it is a national issue especially with the coming of Covid- 19… the resources are grossly scare now, so we have serious challenge in resources but despite that we are still working to meet up with demands of our clients.
Dr. Ameenah Salihu: What do you think can be done to make the state of veterinary practice in Niger state better?
Dr. Nma Bida: Training and re-training of the personnel and the mobilization of resources, especially financial resources in the sector.
Dr. Ameenah Salihu: Who are the key players in the agricultural industry in Niger state?
Dr. Nma Bida: In the livestock sector, the government, that is the Niger state government and of recent the Central Bank of Nigeria are the two key players because those are the people that provide resources.
Dr. Ameenah Salihu: Do we have private key players in Niger state?
Dr. Nma Bida: No, it is only the human health sector that have those, like the NGOs
Dr. Ameenah Salihu: What is your advice to the upcoming veterinarians in Nigeria?
Dr. Nma Bida: They should prepare for more challenges because the resources are limited, government is not employing and the resources to start-up or set up is also limited. So, they should start thinking of business, agro-allied businesses. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) provides loans.