Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), in partnership with the International Research Institute- Kenya (ILRI), has created an Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) system, to manage antimicrobial resistance and track antibiotic consumption in livestock and poultry.
The researchers also partnered with the University of Nairobi, and their breakthrough comes at a time when animal diseases are becoming a major worldwide health concern.
While addressing stakeholders at Makerere University on Wednesday 2nd November, Professor Lawrence Mugisha, an Associate Professor at COVAB, said his team was inspired to create the Animal Disease and Information System because antimicrobial resistance is now a major global health and development threat in humans, livestock, and poultry.
The theme of the workshop was titled: “Management of animal diseases and antimicrobial use by information and communication technology in East Africa (Madtech Project)”.
“Farmers use inappropriate livestock drugs and inappropriate handling of birds which causes sickness. We also found that some vets and agro vets don’t know the type of drugs to give farmers for their livestock,” he said.
He added that farmers can’t access vets conveniently and in proximity, which inspired researchers to work on a system so that farmers who can’t access vet services will be able.
“The service is free of charge. The app will be rolled out soon with Wakiso as the pioneer district,” added Professor Mugisha.
He said antimicrobial resistance occurs when some of the germs (bacteria, viruses, or fungi) that cause infections resist the actions of the medications used to treat them.
“This may result in ‘treatment failure,’ or the inability to treat the source of the infection”, he further added.
According to the research, users can download the application, register, and log in. After logging in, they can report a disease or browse disease symptoms or share drug usage details on their farms.
They added that; access to the App is through smartphones, computers, and laptops and real-time processing of data is possible for users to visualize agro vets- drugs sold, farms, and disease history among others.
On the Uniqueness of the developed system, Professor Mugisha revealed that many stakeholders can engage just like they do on other platforms like Whats App, policymakers can monitor drug use, know which drugs are being bought and the reason, and follow disease trends around livestock.
“Additionally, farmers report diseases on the platform and get help in real-time from Agrovets and vets”, he pointed out.