The Ghana Veterinary Medical Technicians Association of Ghana (VEMTAG) has called for immediate review and harmonisation of the veterinary legislation for effective veterinary governance in the country.
VEMTAG explained that, with the provisions of the Public Health Act, most of the activities supposed to be carried out by the veterinary services, were being done by other institutions such as the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana Standards Authority, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Metropolitan Municipal District Assemblies and other agencies even within the Ministry of Food and Agriculture despite not being fully equipped with the requisite resources to carry out such activities.
The functions of Veterinary Services are carried out under the auspices of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which implies that, the Minister responsible for Food and Agriculture is the one accountable for any activities within that sector.
However, the Public Health Act, an Act supposed to cover all public health activities, places responsibility of Veterinary public health activities on the Minister responsible for Health.
“The Public Health Act, 2012 needs to be amended to enhance the effective delivery of public health in all aspects including ensuring that veterinary services function properly and the businesses that fall within the value chain flourishes as well,” Mr Emmanuel Eshun, president of VEMTAG said.
Speaking in an interview with The Ghanaian Times in Accra he said “We are calling for a complete harmonisation where there is a legislation that would benefit the businessman found within the veterinary domain which helps to protect, maintain and improve the health and welfare of humans including by means of the protection of animal health and welfare and food safety) to have ease of business and avoid duplication which cost time and money and further breaks the public trust in the veterinary services as a whole.”
“For example clearing of animal products at the port must clearly be a duty of the veterinary services unlike the current situation where the FDA is usually at the port attempting to do what the veterinary services should be doing,” he disclosed.
Mr Eshun said “It has become very clear that there are fragmentations of our laws scattered in various legislations and institutions and it is our wish that people are able to benefit from our services of wellbeing, which would only be achieved if we had a policy change that would regulate our laws without duplications in terms of licensing and certifications and other areas. The veterinary service is also not able to execute its mandate because present laws are outdated and must be amended.”
Most importantly he said businesses within the veterinary cycle must survive with clear cut policies, regulations and legislation without segmentations.
An Executive Member of VEMTAG, Mr William Boamah added that, public confidence in the institution was fading and there must be a legislation, which would benefit businesses with regard to export, which would boost the economy at large.
With the recent importation of unwholesome gizzard into the country, he said, the country would lose millions of Ghana cedis treating those infected after consuming the product adding that the country would not have to import such products if the institutions responsible were working in clearly defined roles.
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE