HOW E-SURVEILLANCE WILL BE USED TO MANAGE AND CONTROL LIVESTOCK DISEASE
For the last four days, starting 2nd July, Turkana Sub-County epidemiologists have been in a training workshop on data management and analysis of the e-surveillance system – under the Department of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries – to generate reports that can assist in better decision making in the management of livestock diseases in the county.
The e-surveillance system, supported by GIZ and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), has been running since February 2018 has already been able to assist in mapping the common livestock diseases in the county.
Speaking at the official opening of the workshop Dr Benson Long’or – County Director of Veterinary Services, said that the system would assist the department in decision making and for planning purposes.
“By processing the data, we will be safeguarding livelihoods, planning for vaccinations and timely quarantine as you all know, there are emerging and re-emerging diseases. For example, lumpy skin is a disease that Turkana did not have until recently,” he said.
At this level, the sub-county heads will be learning to clean and analyse data and generate risk maps. Therefore, the county will be able to respond faster during emergency outbreaks as well as in prevention efforts.
This GIZ supported workshop, with an ILRI-Accelerated Value Chain Development (AVCD) – Consultant and ILRI Epidemiologist, is expected to provide technical support including refinement of the ODK forms, expansion of the system to allow the collection of other surveillance data and curation of data collection.
In order to make the system fully be effective in its mandate, the department has been training the community disease reports (CDRS) and other stakeholders that come into contact with pastoralists in one way or other.
In May 2018, there was a two-day workshop on e-surveillance for CDRs, Kenya Wildlife Service, meat inspectors, agro-veterinary shops and county veterinary officers.
This training was aimed at improving flow of information between the CDRs and the county government thus enhancing linkages between the county and the National Government, reduced incidences of late reporting of disease outbreaks among others.
“The training with, for example, the KWS will assist with the interphase between the wildlife and livestock,” said Dr Long’or, pointing out the different stakeholders and their importance in the project.
When picking one of the phones provided for reporting, Shena Mercyline of Sidai Africa Limited – an agro-vet in Lodwar, said she would be passing on the syndromes that her customers share. Customer information who would have otherwise not have reached the department.
This has been an ongoing process, for example in March 2018, the Loima Sub-county community disease reports (CDRs) were trained on syndromic disease identification using booklets developed by ILRI.
Thus far, a total of 240 CDRs and 6,117 livestock producers have been trained on syndromic disease recognition and reporting spread across the seven sub counties.
The way forward is the setting up of the server and commission for full operationalisation of the system. It will also have a fully-fledged ICT E-surveillance Officer and the county will cater for the recurrent costs associated with the system maintenance.