In many African countries livestock is an important resource that contributes to food security, improves the quality of life of farmer communities and strengthens the development of the economy. Animal health not only has an impact on animal production and its economic consequences, but zoonoses may also have an important impact on public health, especially when seen from a One Health perspective. Internationally, countries also increasingly need to demonstrate that their livestock is free of infectious diseases in order to access export markets. To address these issues, many countries implemented epidemiological surveillance systems either developed nationally or internationally. Though these systems contribute to report, monitor and control epizootic outbreaks, there still is room for improvement.
VGTropics™ is a support system aiming to enhance existing national epidemiological surveillance systems by improving communication and providing spatio-temporal tools for decision-making. VGTropics™ is developped in partnership with MEDES (Toulouse, France) and is co-funded by the European Space Agency. VGTropics™ provides the:
- Infrastructure for setting up or consolidating networks to communicate information on animal health and production from the periphery to central coordination units using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), mobile devices and satellite communication.
- Tools to plan and implement livestock surveys using GNSS and mobile devices, and model livestock distributions using satellite derived and ground measured environmental and agro-ecological data.
- Tools to integrate animal health, production and distribution data, analyze spatio-temporal patterns and detect anomalies.
- Tools to plan and implement focused surveillance and control activities.
- Tools to report to national and international stakeholders.
- Tools to monitor veterinary network performance indicators.
Data are collected directly from farmers or through veterinary networks using community participation tools, mobile applications or paper records. Adding VGTropics™ on top of the existing registration databases (the heart of national epidemiological surveillance systems) allows faster detection of outbreaks and an improved coordination between the different stakeholders in charge of responding to disease outbreaks. When national animal health recording systems are not already implemented, VGTropics also provides the necessary data recording tools.