DOUALA, CAMEROON - A Cameroonian company has created a veterinary counseling app designed to help farmers and ranchers who live far away from veterinarians to detect animal diseases and give them guidance online.
Cameroonian rabbit breeder Thierry Bayabon lost three-quarters of his stock to disease a few months ago. Like most small-scale Cameroonian farmers, he was not familiar with diseases that affect animals.
Bayabon says the deaths could have been prevented, but it took too long to find a veterinarian to visit his remote farm. He says two weeks after the cases, as the situation was getting worse, he was successful in getting a veterinarian. The vet came on-site and was able to determine the problem.
To help breeders like Bayabon avoid such costly losses, a Cameroonian startup designed the free online application, Veto.
The app analyzes audio questions about symptoms, gives treatment advice, and helps breeders and ranchers share information.
It also allows them to send photos and videos to actual veterinarians, like Mangoua Cédrick, for analysis.
"In those villages, they have no vet personnel," Cédrick said. "And with an advent of a zoonotic disease like tuberculosis, I mean, you taking the picture for the analysis may help you save life, because zoonoses are diseases that attack humans or that are transmissible between animal to human."
The Veto app's main challenge is that it requires an internet connection, which is expensive and hard to come by in Cameroon's remote villages.
The app's developers say they are working on the problem so it can be useful to more people raising livestock.
Franklin Djomo, chief marketing officer for Veto, says their research and development teams are actively working to develop a module that is not connected to the internet so that it can operate in rural areas.
While the veterinary diagnostic app has connection limitations, its practical use is not limited to Cameroon, or even West Africa. The Veto app is currently available in Cameroon's official languages — French and English — and also in Arabic and Swahili.