Dr John Grewar is, in addition to being a Chief State Veterinarian in the Western Cape, technologically savvy and he was the ideal candidate to send to a workshop in Australia on Information Systems in July 2015.
Dr Grewar wrote :
“The proposed AusVet information system for equine health in South Africa has advantages over traditional information systems. The data provider (be it the equine owner, holding manager, consulting veterinarian, State Veterinarian or testing laboratory) plays a key role in the development of the system and derives the most benefit as a result of meaningful feedback. Data entry is primarily focussed on:
firstly solving issues that any given data provider may have. The data that is captured in solving these problems is then used to assist the project stakeholders with their goals, like showing trace back capabilities with movement data, or showing evidence for freedom of disease using negative reporting.
secondly, the AusVet system is a developed platform where an administrative level user can, with some very basic technological training, create reports and add functionality to the entire system. This allows the system to evolve based on the needs of data providers and stakeholders without the input of hard coded programmer inputs, which can get expensive and take time to implement. In short – if change is necessary, change can easily be implemented.
Should stakeholders invest resources (time, money and personnel) in this system and if they follow the philosophy of treating the data provider as a primary focus, then there is an opportunity to create an equine health information system which will be sustainable, relevant and maintainable in the years to come.”
The introduction of the AusVet Information System in South Africa will facilitate disease reporting, surveillance and movement control and will go a long way to being able to satisfy the OIE, EU and other prospective trading partner’s requirements for Disease Control and Monitoring. Even more importantly, it will facilitate understanding and disease management for owners, veterinarians, epidemiologists and researchers. Substantial funding – in the region of R4 million -is needed to go this route.