27 January 2014 - Since the launch of the pilot phase of the smartphone application (EMA-i) in Uganda in summer 2013, which supports disease surveillance activities, different district veterinary officers are using the online tool to report diseases more rapidly. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) assisted national veterinary authorities in the implementation of the tool between July and December 2013.
EMA-i, which stands for Event Mobile Application, is supporting national veterinary authorities to report disease outbreaks immediately through an online system. The user-friendly and efficient mobile application improves timely reporting and has the capacity to report on a wide range of animal diseases.
This system also allows district veterinary officers to access disease reports submitted by their colleagues, keeping them informed of events in neighbouring districts. Only a few technical adjustments, following a questionnaire distributed to the veterinary officers, were necessary in order to fine-tune the product to the needs in the field.
With funding from the Government of Ireland, FAO provided assistance to the veterinary officers during the entire period of the pilot, who now regularly transmit disease reports through the use of smartphones.
A short video shows the way in which EMA-i has the potential to improve disease reporting in Uganda and includes interviews with officials from FAO and Uganda explaining the functions of the mobile application. The national authorities and the district veterinary officers who participated in the pilot have agreed it would be fruitful to expand EMA-i to all districts in the nation.
The pilot has demonstrated the tool's capacity to improve communication and interaction between veterinary services and livestock farmers, contributing to timely reactions to outbreaks of animal diseases. FAO is encouraging other countries to test and use this new tool to improve disease reporting from the field and support the investigation and surveillance of, as well as the effective response to, disease outbreaks.