New software to streamline veterinary services in Rwanda

Unprofessional veterinary doctors, malpractices in livestock healthcare services will soon be eliminated by a new software that has been commissioned by Rwanda Council of Veterinary Doctors, Sunday Times has learnt.

The council has signed an agreement with a private developer to establish the software that is going to register and provide a license to professional veterinary doctors to be able to monitor their ethical practices and services, according to Dr Emmanuel Baguma, Chairman of Rwanda Council of Veterinary Doctors (RCVD).

The software known as “Veterinary Information Management System (VIMS)” will be available in September this year.

It will also register livestock and allocate electronic cards with same plate numbers so that it can be used by veterinaries, insurers, pharmacists and others to monitor them while veterinary clinics and veterinary services will be recorded in the system for easy access.

“The system will track whether a veterinary doctor is licensed, how they provide health service, which livestock they treated, and the location .If there are any malpractices they will be held accountable because some do things for which they do not have the required skills or experience,” he said.

The software will control the veterinary doctors’ identification, quality and their capacity so as to avoid poor services.

“Someone who is not licensed by the council will not provide any veterinary services since the software will eliminate them,” he said.

He added that the technology will improve coordination between public and private veterinary doctors.

“We are registering all veterinary doctors so that we know the exact number of veterinarians. There was lack of coordination between public and private veterinary doctors. A private veterinary would report some activities such as artificial insemination, number of born cows or even ignore reporting which are really malpractices,” he said.

The system will also incorporate a stock management file for medicine and it will indicate the medicine prescribers’ name and livestock identification

For accessing the livestock health service, the client will be registered with his information in the software while eWallet scheme will help a user to deposit money in advance for livestock healthcare payments.

Decentralising artificial insemination services

Dr Baguma said that a recent ministerial order set up prices charged by veterinary doctors and the software will also monitor any practices related to the implementation.

Prices related to artificial insemination range between Rwf1,800 and Rwf5,000 for one cow but excluding transport costs.

However he said that there are still few doctors trained in artificial insemination.

“We need at least two at cell level,” he said.

There are 2,148 Cells in the country. Since 2016, over 229 inseminators have been trained and deployed in 20 districts.

“There are challenges related to lack of artificial inseminators since livestock farmers are still complaining that they lack access to such services. It is an issue even on the economic angle because if a cow doesn’t conceive due to lack of insemination, that is a loss to the farmer as it can take two years without an offspring and milk,” he said.

He stressed that natural insemination from a bull provides low production due to many factors.

“If your cow mates with a neighbor’s bull, it might create relationship with your cows which leads to inbreeding. Second, that bull might have sexually transmitted diseases prevent the cow from conceiving since it has not been controlled in required conditions,” he noted.

Lack of access to artificial insemination triggers the average conception rate in Rwanda to remain at between 39 and 40 per cent.

“By natural insemination, it is very difficult to know the best quality bull in terms of genetic improvement,” he said.

Rwanda has an estimated 799,000 crossbreed dairy cattle in 2017. The number is projected to rise to over 1.17 million under a five-year Livestock Masterplan that covers 2018 to 2022.

Figures show that the share of local breed cows dropped from about 100 per cent in 1995 to 38 per cent in 2017.

About 54 per cent of cows were cross-bred in 2017, while 8 per cent were pure breed.

A cross-breed cow produces between 8 and 10 litres of milk per day, while the pure breed gives up to 30 litres.