FarmVetCare training

Strengthening disease surveillance in Vietnam: Insights from a ‘FarmVetCare’ mobile application training

Technological innovations are at the forefront of reshaping industries across the world today including the veterinary industry. With support from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners, the 'FarmVetCare’ mobile application is being tested to prevent and manage animal and zoonotic disease outbreaks in Vietnam.

FarmVetCare app
FarmVetCare interface

Funded by South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) and implemented by ILRI, FarmVetCare mobile application was launched in December 2023, under the project ‘Improving human health through sustainable value chains in human-animal-environmental interactions using ICT in Vietnam’ (2023-25), or ICT4Health. The ICT4Health project uses a One Health approach to enhance the national partners’ capacity in disease surveillance, early detection, emergency response, and disease prevention focusing on transboundary animal and emerging zoonotic diseases (TAEZDs). 

Training on FarmVetCare at National Institute of Veterinary Research (NIVR) in January 2024 (photo credit: ILRI/Thang Nguyen).

On 23-24 January and 14-15 March 2024, ILRI in collaboration with the National Institute of Veterinary Research (NIVR) of Vietnam conducted two training sessions on utilizing the FarmVetCare app for the veterinary staff of Lao Cai province in January at NIVR and the veterinary staff of Hoa Binh province in March at Hoa Binh Sub-department of Animal Health. This initiative brought together a total of 21 community veterinarians including 6 women, from Lao Cai and Hoa Binh provinces in Northwest Vietnam. Participants discussed the tools and knowledge needed to improve disease surveillance system and mitigate TAEZDs risks through the FarmVetCare app.

‘This event gave us feedback from those already using the FarmVetCare app to help us improve its usability and functionality. We also shared project results so far with policymakers and reviewed the status of TAEZDs surveillance systems, and the strategies for their prevention and control using ICT innovations,’ said Fred Unger, ILRI regional representative for Asia.

Training on FarmVetCare at Sub-department of Animal Health of Hoa Binh Province in March 2024 (photo credit: ILRI/Thang Nguyen).

Overall, the veterinary staff could use this mobile application easily. However, installation guidance will be needed. ‘I found the app easy to use, but I was a bit confused during the installation process. For farmers, the app can be a bit challenging because most farmers are older and may not have clear visibility to input information. The app includes a feature for household members to register accounts to ask questions. It's quite convenient,’ said Do Thi Xuan, a community veterinarian from Hoa Binh province.

Besides, enhancing communication within veterinary groups and updating veterinary drug lists were among the insights that stakeholders offered for optimizing the efficiency and usability of the app. ‘We can disseminate updates of diagnoses and treatments for animal diseases through group chats among veterinarians within the app. This will improve the veterinaries’ knowledge across all levels, enabling us to provide better veterinary services to our farmer community,’ said Tran Quoc Toan, a community veterinarian from Lao Cai Province.

The participants also discussed existing challenges of internet access in remote areas and ways of addressing them and proposed solutions such as strategic site selection and encouraging voluntary participation among farmers who already have smartphones and internet connection on their farms. 

A key discussion in the workshop was on ways of increasing the participation of women veterinarians and farmers in the ICT4Health project. ‘This will help to enhance livestock care in Vietnam and promote shared responsibilities for more inclusive and empowered communities,’ said Tran Thi Thuyet, vice head of Lao Cai Sub-department of Animal Health and Livestock Production. Local officials from both provinces also committed to increase the participation of women veterinarians and women farmers in future FarmCareVet training sessions in provinces through top-down directives and comprehensive communication plans from provincial to commune levels. 

Led by experts from ILRI, NIVR, Chungnam National University, College of Veterinary Medicine (CNU-CVM) in South Korea and Animal Industry Data Korea (AIDKOREA), the events gave participants a better understanding of the functionalities of the FarmVetCare app and how it can be used for animal disease surveillance. Through the application, farmers can report any abnormal health conditions observed in their animals to a designated veterinarian, facilitating diagnosis and treatment. This surveillance system enables the local authorities to identify hot spot areas of animal diseases and zoonotic diseases to enhance timely management and control measures. 

‘We are very thrilled to leverage Korean expertise in collaboration with the Vietnamese community to conduct surveillance and prevent animal diseases of economic importance and zoonotic diseases in Vietnam’, said Daniel Kyeong, chief executive officer of South Korea-based tech startup Animal Industry Data Korea, or AID Korea.

The ICT4Health project is implemented in Hoa Binh and Lao Cai provinces in Vietnam. Its five components are: (i) conducting a gap analysis of the current registration of TAEZDs (ii) establishing TAEZDs surveillance One Health working groups (iii) conducting a pilot study for a surveillance and monitoring system using ICT responding to TAEZDs, (iv) deploying tools and methods to improve the surveillance of TAEZDs along the livestock value chain, and (v) developing strategies to improve agricultural extension services and share equal benefits and rights for women through gender-focused interventions.

Read more:

Training report on mobile application of Farmvetcare for Sub-department of Animal Health and Livestock Production in Lao Cai Province