Mobile based expert system model for animal health monitoring : cows disease monitoring in Kenya
A host of diseases affect livestock in Kenya. These diseases as well as pests cause heavy losses to livestock farmers through deaths, reduced productivity and loss of markets for products. The research aimed at gaining deeper insights into the challenges faced by livestock farmers in Kenya, to understand the methods used for animal health monitoring and disease prediction and to establish the data and information requirements for animal health management at a farm. This study further proposed a mobile based expert system model for animal health monitoring. Mobile uptake in Kenya coupled with significant strides made in mobile telecommunication infrastructure bring new potential to animal health management. The ubiquitous nature and pervasiveness of mobiles enable the use of information and communication technology everywhere, by everyone, and at all times. Using mobile technology, the model automates the process of managing animal health at a farm including recording farm, farmers’ and animal details, predicting animal disease and monitoring of animal health right at the farms. It provides a collaborative platform between a farmer and a veterinary expert. The health of the affected cow is then monitored to recovery. The model was tested through simulation of various modules. Of the 29 participants that took part in this exercise, 69 percent were satisfied that the model fulfilled the intended functions of animal health monitoring. 76 percent of the respondents also found the model easy to use. The model was therefore successful in management of farm, farmers and animal records as well as continuous monitoring of animal health.