PAHIS: Pacific animal health information
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CTA. 2004. PAHIS: Pacific animal health information. ICT Update Issue 15. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57644
Alexandre Fediaevsky reports on the Pacific Animal Health Information System (PAHIS), a database and decision support system issued on CD-ROM for veterinary officers in the region.
Sina Taulealo, veterinary officer in Samoa, only needs a CD-ROM to access comprehensive information on, for example, the distribution of the fowl pox virus throughout the Pacific Island Countries and Territories, and to perform an accurate risk analysis for his region. At the touch of a button, he can retrieve technical information on the virus, run an analysis on susceptible livestock species, and find the contact details of professional colleagues on other islands who have experience in dealing with the disease. The above scenario is the result of efforts by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Regional Animal Health Service (SPC RAHS), which was established in 1991 to support the region´s veterinary services. On many Pacific islands these services face a number of constraints such as the lack of access to professional literature and up-to-date information on international animal health standards, and unreliable or unreferenced data. Such information is necessary to carry out risk analyses, make quarantine decisions or conduct investigations of suspected disease outbreaks. The situation is exacerbated by poor communications infrastructures, and the lack of laboratory diagnostic capabilities or limited access to such facilities. To remedy these problems, the RAHS, in collaboration with the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), has developed the Pacific Animal Health Information System (PAHIS) database, which is now available on CD-ROM. The PAHIS database was initially developed as a web-based tool in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1997, but its success was limited due to the poor Internet connectivity in many parts of the Pacific. Based on the experience of its predecessor, the new version of PAHIS has been developed to run on most personal computers without an Internet connection. Local veterinary services receive with the database a free runtime version of all the required programs on a CD-ROM, which is updated every year. The PAHIS CD-ROM contains a wide range of information, including country reports, contact details, livestock populations by country and by species, and the veterinary facilities and infrastructures in Pacific countries. It also contains updated information on the distribution of animal diseases, based on data from the OIE´s World Animal Health yearbook, and from disease surveys and animal health status reports. Users can search the PAHIS database for information on animal disease distributions in the Pacific region using multiple criteria such as disease names, geographic coverage, susceptible species, and categories of commodities (such as meat, milk and semen) that may be responsible for spreading pathogens. To address the specific requirements of officials who need to carry out import risk analyses and make quarantine decisions, comparisons of the disease status of countries are also available. The results are displayed in tables and maps that can be easily incorporated into reports. But PAHIS is more than a simple database. It also includes technical documents and international standards such as the OIE international animal health codes, manuals for the recognition of exotic livestock diseases, diagnostics and vaccines, and disease recognition cards. The information provided by PAHIS can also assist veterinary services and other government agencies in taking the most appropriate decisions to protect their animal populations from exotic diseases. The new version of PAHIS was officially launched at the 23rd Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for Asia, the Far East and Oceania on 26-29 November 2003. During that conference, PAHIS was demonstrated to delegates from the SPC member countries with veterinary services: American Samoa, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Northern Marianas, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. The PAHIS CD-ROM has been designed as a tool to assist the veterinary services of the Pacific region, or those who carry similar responsibilities for their local authorities. For the general public a limited version of PAHIS is available on the http://www.spc.int/rahs/ SPC website. mailto:AlexandreF@spc.int Alexandre Fediaevsky is an animal health information specialist at the SPC. For more information, visit http://www.spc.int/rahs/ www.spc.int/rahs/.