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FAO donates animal disease detection device to MoFA

BY: Dominic Moses Awiah
 Mr Benjamin  M. Adjei presenting one of the handsets for animal diseases reporting to Dr Joyce Dontwi, acting Director of Veterinary Services
Mr Benjamin M. Adjei presenting one of the handsets for animal diseases reporting to Dr Joyce Dontwi, acting Director of Veterinary Services

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has handed over a new mobile application technology designed to detect animal diseases to the Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

Known as the ‘Event Mobile Application (EMA-I),’ the technology will also enable the VSD to promptly report on animal diseases that may pose danger to consumers.

The devise was handed over to the VSD at a training workshop for staff of the directorate from selected districts where the project will be rolled out.

Twenty districts in the Brong Ahafo, Volta and Upper East regions are to benefit from the project which will initially be implemented for a period of six months.

Challenges

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The FAO Regional Manager for West and Central Africa, Dr Baba Soumare, said the early detection and timely reporting on animal diseases, including zoonoses, represented a national, regional and global challenge.

Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can be transmitted naturally between animals (usually vertebrates) and humans.

Dr Soumare said good quality diseases information and timely reporting were needed in order to understand the disease situation, support decision making, prevent potential disease incursion and respond quickly.

“That is why this application is very significant since it will facilitate data collection and real-time disease reporting to support veterinary services capacities in disease surveillance,” he added.

The EMA-I, the manager said, could be adapted to national disease reporting needs since the technology allowed users to be aware of events occurring in nearby areas and also created epidemiological reports which could be received and shared in real time with decision makers.

Rationale

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of State in charge of Agriculture, Dr Gyiele Nurah, said the rationale behind the technology was to increase livestock production as part of moving agriculture beyond aid.

With the help of the EMA-I, he said, the VSD would be in a good position to play a key role in ensuring abundant and affordable supply of animal products for the Ghanaian consumer.

According to the minister, the new mobile application technology would ensure effective and early response to disease threats, adding that the EMA-I would also improve communication among various stakeholders within the agricultural sector.

Dr Nurah stressed the need to extend the use of EMA-I to cover the entire country, saying “this will improve the animal health delivery system in the country.”