Assessment of the Competence of Veterinary Laboratory Staff Involved in the Diagnosis of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Nigeria
The study was designed to assess the competence of the Veterinary laboratory staff involved in Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) diagnosis in Nigeria with particular focus on the Nigerian Veterinary Research Institute Vom, Jos (NVRI) and the five disignated Nigerian Veterinary Teaching Hospitals for the diagnosis of HPAI using a structured questionare. Each of these laboratories should have the capacity to carry out screening direct antigen detection tests, immunofluorescence test and serological tests for antibody detection. The NVRI is expected to carry out virus isolation and identification and any other isolate characterization. Out of the 69 respondents involved in the diagnosis of HPAI, 15 (21.7%) were Senior Veterinary Research Officers while 19 (27.5%), 3(4.3%), 4(5.8%), 14(20.3%), and 2(2.9%) were Veterinary Research Officers, Chief Technologists, Assistant Chief Technologists and Technologists respectively. Holders of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree (DVM) accounted for 47.8% while those with Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and Ordinary National Diplomas (ONDs) accounted for 24.6% with few Bachelor of Science Degree (BSc) holders. Results also revealed that, 59.4% of the respondents were only involved with HPAI diagnosis in the last four years while only 18.8% indicated involvement during the last five years and beyond. Also, only 53.6% of the staff ever attended Laboratory training while 46.4% did not. It was concluded that many Veterinary laboratory staff in Nigeria lacked the necessary qualification and experience to carry out effective HPAI diagnosis.
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