Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, March 12, 2010

Using EpiSurveyor to collect agricultural data in rural areas and swine-related surveillance projects

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The Animal Health Laboratory (AHL) at the University of Guelph (Canada) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) are running a pilot system to record mortality and morbidity rates on high-risk hog farming operations. Amish and Mennonite producers make up a large portion of this population. These producers traditionally employ few biosecurity measures and do not rely heavily on veterinary and diagnostic laboratory services. These producers are also limited in their access to modern means of communication as many are without a telephone. Consequently, it is difficult to assess changes in morbidity and mortality and to promptly identify disease outbreaks when they occur. This surveillance study is designed to access regular health information on these herds that previously existed in relative isolation from veterinary care and diagnostic services.

Farms enrolled in the surveillance study submit weekly mortality and morbidity data from all areas of their production system (including the breeding/gestation, farrowing, nursery, and grow/finish sections). Producers have the option of mailing in hard copies of the surveillance form or using a Nokia 6086 phone with Episurveyor to electronically send in the weekly data. The data from all farms is compiled in a central database and analyzed weekly for increases in morbidity and mortality. If a problem is identified, the farm’s local veterinarian is informed. The veterinarian is compensated for their professional services and laboratory diagnostics associated with the surveillance study. Producers access veterinary services at a reduced cost, thus significantly increasing contact between the herd, veterinarians and producers.

The study began in June of 2009 and runs until June 2010. The goal is to collect data on each farm for 12 months and have several meetings with the producers to present findings and discuss common health problems during the data collection period. The Episurveyor program has been functioning cell on farm and data downloading has been problem-free. Episurveyor is now being considered for future swine-related surveillance projects.

Datadyne 24/10/2009: EpiSurveyor Case Study: Animal Health Laboratory at University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture
DIGITAL PLANET BBC World Service 11/03/2010 Mobile boom fuels health work in developing countries
EpiSurveyor startup guide

Interview with Geoffrey Mimano, lead programmer on the upcoming wireless version of EpiSurveyor, and Joel Selanikio, co-founder. Geoff talks about the project and demonstrates how quickly he can upload a form to the web and download to his phone. Filmed in Nakuru, Kenya, in August 2008.

Joel Selanikio represented on 29/01/2010 DataDyne at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, participating in several discussions and finally a panel on "Technology in Society" with Eric Schmidt (CEO, Google), Didier Lombard (Chairman, France Telecom), Rainer Bruderle (German Federal Minister for Economics and Technology), and William Green (CEO, Accenture).

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