Livestock diseases have always been the focus of the Tanzanian Veterinary Authorities. However, they have become more important since the formation of the World Trade Organisation and subsequent implementation of the various multilateral agreements on trade. There is also a strong political desire to improve the animal health status as part of poverty alleviation strategies. As a result there is a need to develop better systems for investigating and reporting of animal diseases. In order to follow the OIE pathway and to obtain a disease free status, reliable evidence of freedom from particular diseases is becoming an issue of major interest. Assessment of the Tanzanian animal health information system revealed two major problems; firstly, the absence of disease information that accurately reflects the health status of the source population, and secondly, an inefficient information management system which is unable to provide useful information on the spatial component of animal health. A strategic approach is proposed that involves the collection of animal health information using active surveillance techniques and the introduction of a geographic information system. This approach should improve the management and reporting of animal health information.
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