The Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) is hoping to realise a significant improvement in its animal disease-control reporting and other related services with the launch of an electronic platform for the Directorate.
According to the Director of VSD, Dr. William Adu Kuma, the migration from manual operations to the use of an e-platform puts the Directorate on course to free its operations from all the challenges it faced by operating manually over the years.
“We are using pen and paper; this slows down our work because most times it involves phoning to get the information through. Disease control has to be timely, but sending mails and writing paper-based reports takes some time to collate,” he said.
These developments caused VSD to miss some opportunities to quickly control animal diseases, he disclosed. It is against this background that introducing the e-platform is anticipated to bring a real-time response to animal disease control.
The digital platform is expected to link the districts, regional and head office for faster and more efficient reporting and feedback as well as information sharing. It will also create access to a vast array of veterinary knowledge in e-Resources, and open avenues and opportunities for professional education.
“We know the implementation will face a lot of challenges, knowing the Internet connectivity in remote areas coupled with the cost of data and lack of computers,” he stated. However, he added that there is a “need to do this or be left behind in the knowledge society”.
Dr. Adu Kuma was speaking at the launching and training of veterinary staff on use of the e-platform in Kumasi, and encouraged participants to put in all their effort despite the challenges.
VSD plans to roll-out the platform in all the regions and districts in Ghana. The initiative is supported by the Ghana Poultry Project (GPP).
The Chief of Party-GPP, Carianne de Boer, acknowledged that the initiative is a great culmination of the partnership and journey to deepen digital footprints of the directorate across the country.
“VSD is an important partner in delivering animal health services, providing extension and increasing productivity and the profitability of poultry in Ghana. That is why we from GPP (funded by USDA) are glad to play our part in their efforts to increase internal capacity and enhance efficiency through technology.”
All over the globe, technology leads the way to drive innovation and new ways of doing things. Technology used to be a thing for the future, and that future is now. She therefore said the path taken by VSD is a great way of ensuring the availability of tools and resources in open spaces and access to all. “It encourages exploration and discovery, and will enhance communications among all units and offices of the directorate.
“It’s a cost-effective approach of achieving productivity, a fast way to be updated about the latest developments, and to foster reflective practice as well as create room for institutional memory.”
The Ashanti Regional Director of MoFA, Rev. John Manu, also said the platform is a component of modernisation for agriculture. “So, at the end of the day, I think it is going to make VSD’s programmes and activities very swift, especially as far as the outbreak of diseases is concerned.”
He explained that there are situations where there is an outbreak of a disease but the information does not get even to the lab on time, and also when lab analysis is done it takes more time before the information gets to the office. In this regard, he observed, information sharing will be swift and ultimately enhance the agricultural delivery system.