Jos – The Federal College of Veterinary and Medical Laboratory Technology, Vom in Plateau trained 20,000 laboratory technologists and technicians since its establishment 60 years ago, its Provost, Dr George-Best Echeonwu, said.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Wednesday that most of the products were manning the laboratories of the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom, NAFDAC and other related agencies.
The provost said many West African nations like Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ethiopia, Liberia and Cameroun had also benefitted from the training as they had brought in their personnel who were trained to man laboratories in their countries.
He described medical laboratories as “very crucial” to healthcare delivery both to humans and animals, pointing out that human and veterinary doctors required results from lab diagnosis to determine what medicine to cure any ailment.
“The medical system also relies solely on such diagnosis to produce vaccines.
“Our task here is to contribute to the health of livestock; a healthy livestock will ensure healthy meat and ultimately secure the health of consumers.
“A healthy livestock is also good business for those involved in that sector of the economy.’’
Echeonwu said the school had introduced entrepreneurship training for its trainees in poultry, animal production and animal health, as part of efforts to boost self-reliance if there were no immediate jobs after their graduation.
“We have such trainings mainly in piggery, arable farming, tomatoes and cabbage farming, as well as livestock keeping,” he said.
The provost added that the trainees were also tutored on avenues for financing their private enterprises, noting that “we take them on excursion visits to the Bank of Industry (BOI) and other avenues where they could get soft loans with the minimum interest or collateral.’’[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
He, however, said that facilities in the school were overstretched, pointing out that it now admit an average of 100 students, “instead of admitting an average of 15 students like we had when I came in as a student in the 1970s.”
He said that the school had high quality manpower, but suggested a need to engage more hands “in view of rising challenges.’’
He then called for more financial allocations to the college “to address several areas where we are grossly lacking.’’
He listed such areas to include the acute shortage of laboratories and classes, as well as inadequate office space for staff.
The college boss said that the institution also required structural expansion, especially with the recent permission to introduce environmental health programmes.
He said that the school also required some demonstration grounds, a technical drawing centre, an e-library, as well as an ICT centre to ease its activities and bring it abreast with global trends in the livestock sector.
On why he had remained provost on acting capacity for five years, Echeonwu said that he was not in a position to explain much on that.
“All I konw is that I have been acting as Provost since 2011; we attended an interview where I may be confirmed, or a new person appointed, since 2012, but the result has not been released up till now and I do not know why,” he said. (NAN)