VetAfrica, our flagship application is designed to help users capture and share information which can then be used for disease surveillance. Disease surveillance is the practice of monitoring the spread of disease in order to identify patterns of progression and in this blog we’re looking at what is means and why it is so important to us and our customers.
Increased movements of people, urbanisation and the growth of international trade are all characteristics of the modern world. Add to that the rapid adaptation of microorganisms, which has facilitated the return of old communicable diseases and the emergence of new ones, and the evolution of antimicrobial resistance, which means that treatments for a wide range infections have become less effective, and a communicable disease in one country today is the concern for all. The main role of disease surveillance is to predict, observe, and minimise the harm caused by an outbreak, epidemic or pandemic situation, as well as increase knowledge about which factors contributed in the first place. A key part of modern disease surveillance is the practice of disease case reporting; something we are big on here at Cojengo.
Infectious disease remains a major causes of mortality in the developing world. Well known existing, emerging and re-emerging diseases cause suffering and mortality to huge numbers across the developing world, and in Africa in particular. Trypanosomiasis, for example, is a zoonotic diseases (affecting both people and animals) which threatens millions of people across 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Commonly known as Sleeping Sickness in its human form due to its most common symptoms including headaches, drowsiness, insomnia and loss of appetite. Trypanosomiasis is a vector-borne disease that is transferred between people and animals mainly by the Tsetse fly. Africa wide, the disease kills over 30,000 people annually. In Uganda it is responsible for the death of over 3 million cattle, combined with ill health and reduced productivity the country estimates the economic loss in the livestock and farming industry to be around 4 billion USD. That’s why we’re focusing our efforts in this region, equipping animal health worker and veterinarians with better tools to help spot the disease and get the correct treatment to the right place in time.
Official figures on disease epidemiology vary and are difficult to confirm due to the remote and rural locale of many farms and settlements plus lack of consistent, accurate reporting. As a result, the impact of infectious disease is often underestimated and the priority given to control not proportionate to its impact.
This has an adverse effect on prevention and treatment as political decisions and commitments or funding mean intensity of control efforts by authorities depend on the level of perceived burden, not actual facts in some cases.