Improving cattle disease reporting and surveillance in Ethiopia using smartphone-based application

Beyene, TJ and Asfaw, F and Getachew, Y and Beyene, T and Collins, I and Beyi, FA and Revie, CW; (2017) Improving cattle disease reporting and surveillance in Ethiopia using smartphone-based application. In: Proceeding of the 3rd International Conference of Animal Health Surveillance. New Zealand Veterinary Association, Wellington, New Zealand, pp. 77-80.

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This study explores the use of a smartphone-based application to increase the accuracy and completeness of cattle disease reporting and surveillance in three regions of Ethiopia. We compared the performance of a smartphone-based application with traditional (paper-based) cattle diagnosis and reporting, in terms of demographics and disease information, level of detail and delay in time to transmit information to higher levels. A total of 547 and 678 clinical cattle cases were diagnosed in veterinary clinics visited by two groups of final-year veterinary students using the VetAfrica-Ethiopia (VAE) smartphone app and manual approach respectively. The group using the VAE application diagnosed over 90% cases as diseases of a specific name, while in reports from the manual system almost 50% of cases were diagnosed as non-specific diseases or ‘syndromes’. Furthermore, the mean duration of time required for smartphone data to be received by zonal- and federal- level veterinary services through a Cloud-based server were estimated to be two days (95% CI: 1.6–2.3), five days (95% CI: 3.8–5.4), and 13 days (95% CI: 12–14.9) in the Central, Eastern and Southern regions. The traditional reporting system adopted a batch reporting approach and only around two thirds of all cases reach the federal veterinary service by the end of a month. Despite the fact that such smartphone technology-assisted reporting and surveillance involves considerable start-up challenges and may be affected by intermittent mobile internet network coverage, they offer significant benefits in terms of improving data integrity, timeliness and reduced costs in the long run.


Beyene, TJ, Asfaw, F, Getachew, Y, Beyene, T, Collins, I, Beyi, FA and Revie, CW ORCID logoORCID:;