Ugandan scientists in the animal sector now have privilege to use an internet based application for tracking various animal diseases dairy farmers are faced with.
The App designed to collect data about a particular animal disease outbreak in a specific geographical area is an initiative by Food and Agriculture Organisation which was initially piloted in 10 districts covering the cattle corridor but it is now intended to cover the entire country.
Mr Edward Okori National Livestock Programme officer, FAO Uganda in explaining how the tool works, noted that the application referred to as EMPRES-i event mobile Application (EMA) is an Android software web based for those in veterinary service to communicate and report disease surveillance to a platform housed at Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre (NADDEC) Entebbe through an email.
The software which enables the user to collect data using excel application, maps and photos to illustrate the level of the disease burden is downloaded by the user on his smart phone for further use.
It has a series of questionnaires all consolidated in the Application giving details of the type of disease, when the animal was reported to have contracted the disease in question, visualization from the field on a map referenced data of a number of outbreaks available and how to safely store epidemiological data in one database.
Upon running through the drop down general key and epidemiological questions, the Global Positioning System (GPS) a satellite-based navigation systemcoordinate is automatically provided and where necessary, the photo of the case is taken using the inbuilt phone camera and by the press of send command , it’s received instantly by the District Veterinary officer (DVO) for validation .
If the DVO acts quickly and sends the data to NADDEC, the data is received instantly at every moment at the stage it is sent.
The reporting is done through an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
This tool was first released by FAO in 2003 under the Global animal disease information system to support veterinary services and the international animal health community by facilitating national, regional and global disease information exchange and risk analyses on new emergent diseases.
In Uganda it was implemented since the year 2013 in the districts Mityana, Nakasongola, Mbale, Rakai, Sironko, Busia, Lyantonde, Isingiro, Masaka, Mukono and extended to Kaabong, Kotido, Abim, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirtit, Amudatand Kitgum
From 2013 to 2016 over 130 reports have been received from the districts and the diseases for consideration include Avian Influenza, Rinderpest and Peste des Petits Ruminants, Rift Valley Fever, Foot-and-Mouth Disease , Anthrax, Brucellosis , Rabies, African Swine Fever, Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia and Schmallenberg virus among others.
There are administrators to manage the system and data can be analyzed through graph, charts, tables and Excel. It provides the ability for a user to display more than one disease on a map.
There are steps to be followed and these include the user collecting disease information which is sent through internet to EMPRES platform.
The data arrives to the FAO server, where it is verified in a secure context by the Mobile Control Panel System.
The Mobile Control Panel routes the data to the EMPRES-i platform in the EMPRES-i Disease Event module to unvalidated section.
An E-mail notification is generated for the sender and the data managers of the system and data is validated to be integrated into the EMPRES-i platform for further action.
There is a password used by authorized users which is protected with individual privileges.