Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, FAS, has advocated multidisciplinary collaborations among researchers with a view to developing strategies which would help to prevent or manage outbreaks as well as tame the future spread of endemics and pandemics.
This advocacy, according to Prof. Ogunsola, becomes imperative in view of the surge in Zoonotic infections and diseases, a development she said requires a collaborative approach to ensure human safety and protect the interdependence between man and animals.
This formed the core of the Vice-Chancellor’s address at the opening of the 15th Annual Conference of the Zoological Society of Nigeria (ZSN) which held at the Tolu Odugbemi hall of the University of Lagos on Monday, November 28, 2022.
Prof. Ogunsola who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics and Research, Professor Bola Oboh recalled the outbreaks of respiratory diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Lassa fever, Ebola haemorrhagic fever, Monkeypox and the most recent COVID-19, illnesses which she said, ravaged several countries across continents, claiming lives and leaving devastating effects on human relations and economies.
Prof. Oboh, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, expressed concerns over the increase in the spread of diseases and infections from animals to man especially when compared with transmission from man to animals, one which she said has continued to raise global concerns.
She charged participants at the 15th Conference of the Zoological Society of Nigeria, to deliberate and generate ideas which would facilitate collaborative/multidisciplinary researches thereby engendering the World Health Organization (WHO) declarations on health and well-being of both human beings and animals.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of Opening Session for the conference, Registrar/CEO, Environmental Health Council of Nigeria, Dr Baba Yakubu recalled the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic especially within the rank and file of the health sector, one which he said, buttresses the need for a paradigm shift in research focus.
Dr Yakubu who was represented by Mrs. Adeola Daramola Florence, suggested collaborative researches in animal movements and patterns just as he implored participants to take interest in joint entrepreneurship ventures especially Products marketing.
There were remarks by the President, Zoological Society of Nigeria, Professor Alex Odaibo; Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos, Professor Elijah Oyeyemi; the Head, Department of Zoology, Professor Emmanuel Idowu and Chairman, Local Organizing Committee for the conference, Professor Kehinde Kemabonta.
They all described the 15th Conference of the Society as an avenue for participants to draw from the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recently suspended ASUU strike especially as it affects members’ finances.
The conference, according to them, would also serve as an eye-opener to business opportunities in the field of Zoology.
The Keynote Speaker, Dr Ochuwa George spoke on one of the subthemes of the conference, Translating Zoological Research into Entrepreneurship and Policy. She suggested livestock and animal husbandry, wildlife documentary production and capacity building in Conservationism, Pest Management and Consultancy Services as business opportunities which participants can explore for financial leverage.
The keynote speaker also recommended further researches to eliminate the risks of pandemics in future and stressed the need for research outcomes to be developed into actionable policies which will create entrepreneurial opportunities for self-reliance and financial leverage.
The 15th Conference of the Zoological Society of Nigeria has as theme: The Role of Zoology in a Post-COVID-19 Era. It is the second to be hosted in the University of Lagos having hosted the 2013 edition.