Uganda’s Animal Health Sector Adopts Electronic Tool for Indicator-Based Surveillance Reporting
This post was written by Derrick Mimbe of PATH.
Despite the health sector entering the digital age many decades ago, a digital divide still impedes vital global health detection and surveillance functions. The 2017 Joint External Evaluation of Uganda’s International Health Regulations capacities and the 2018 Performance of Veterinary Services Pathway identified critical gaps in detection of zoonotic disease threats, including reliance on paper-based reporting tools in the animal health sector.
To improve electronic reporting in the animal health sector, USAID’s Infectious Disease Detection and Surveillance (IDDS) Project developed a macro-enabled Microsoft Excel tool in 2021 and piloted it in four districts (Gulu, Mbale, Mbarara and Moroto) in 2022. Macros enable the program to connect with other digital tools and conduct simple tasks automatically. The Excel tool is now used for indicator-based surveillance: the collection, monitoring and analysis of data on disease outbreaks.
IDDS ran the pilot from February to March 2022, and gathered feedback to inform a revised version of the tool. The revised tool was then rolled out to 34 of Uganda’s 134 districts on June 19, 2023, during a hybrid (virtual and in-person) workshop convened at the Nile Village Hotel in the Jinja district.
IDDS developed the Excel tool with the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Center (NADDEC) at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. District veterinary officers and surveillance focal persons will use the tool for animal health surveillance data capture and reporting.
While opening the workshop, Dr. Robert Mwebe, the principal veterinary officer at NADDEC, said, “Transition to the revised Excel tool will enable NADDEC to focus on analysis and use of surveillance data instead of using precious time to manually reenter the data.”
The initial pilot of the data entry and analysis tool has resulted in an increase in reporting rates and also facilitated tracking of timeliness of report submission.