Wednesday, October 27, 2021

FAO launches global disease information centre

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a new web-based system to allow countries to better identify and mitigate animal disease threats. 

“We need to prioritize and strengthen the animal health sector,” FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu said at an event to launch the EMPRES-i+ system. “Strong international and national animal health systems are key to prevent diseases, ensure safe and nutritious food, and protect farmers’ interests.”

The announcement comes as African Swine Fever spreads globally, recently coming closer to Canada and the United States as it swept across the Dominican Republic and Haiti. 

EMPRES-i+ replaces an earlier version, EMPRES-i, which was first launched in 2004 and has been widely used by hundreds of stakeholders ranging from local communities to global development partners.

The upgraded platform’s features include:

- cloud-based platform with ability to link to other data platforms from public health, animal health and environmental sectors. This will help users to easily access data from other sectors and use information they need for further analysis.

- advanced data analytics for users to easily identify disease events and trends. Moreover, it will also help countries to plan their disease control approaches and target interventions.

- forecasting and early warning functions to allow countries to monitor disease spread and the risk of new outbreaks. From this function, countries will be able to prepare for possible disease outbreaks well in advance.