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FAO holds international workshop on challenges of national, regional and global information systems and surveillance for major animal diseases and zoonoses


22 November 2010 - Disease Information Systems (DIS) are information technology tools that are designed to provide data management and decision support to national animal health services and local veterinary epidemiology units. DIS collect information on disease events and surveillance activities to support decision making on disease control and management at national levels and reporting to national, regional and international early warning mechanisms and disease prevention schemes.

These tools have been developed as applied, practical, computer-based software packages to help animal health practitioners and veterinarians solve pressing real life problems. Nowadays, animal health services and veterinary units of countries from all five continents are using DIS.

Given the emergence of infectious animal diseases around the world and the expected rise of new insidious pathogens, it is believed that enhancing local disease intelligence capabilities might assist in preventing disease events from becoming serious threats to animals and humans.

In view of this, the Emergency Prevention Systems (EMPRES) programme at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is holding in Rome, Italy an international workshop titled "Challenges of national, regional and global information systems and surveillance for major animal diseases and zoonoses" from 23 to 26 November 2010.

The four objectives of this international workshop are (1) to identify successes and challenges faced by current national, regional and global surveillance systems, and propose means to overcome the challenges, including strategies to facilitate data sharing and technology transfer between national, regional and global health information systems; (2) to discuss standardizing mechanisms for exchange of data between information systems by encouraging the use of open source software and technologies; (3) to identify appropriate methods to improve the collection, management, analysis and use of geo-referenced data on transboundary animal diseases, zoonoses and other emerging diseases; and (4) to seek consensus on protocols for sharing official and unofficial data between national, regional and global animal health information systems.

With the above in mind, this event has been structured to cover information systems and surveillance tools according to their geographic scope. On day one, for instance, sessions will be held on national animal health information systems as well as DIS technologies. On day two, regional health and laboratory information systems will be covered. On day three, two sessions on global DIS and disease surveillance tools will be held. Finally, on the last day, group discussions, followed by conclusions and recommendation, will ensue.

An agenda of the international workshop can be found here.

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