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Omeva Consulting's "Avian Influenza ICT Enabled Awareness" Project Wins Transformative Research Challenge

Posted on November 15, 2023

We are delighted to announce that our project, "Avian Influenza ICT Enabled Awareness," has been selected as one of the winners of the Transformative Research Challenge. This prestigious award, organised by the World Food Forum in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO UN) and Wageningen University & Research, recognises innovative research proposals from young researchers focused on preventing emerging zoonotic diseases through a global and holistic approach.

Our project targets Avian Influenza, a significant threat to both the global poultry industry and overall health, particularly impacting smallholder farmers worldwide. Bird flu poses a substantial risk to wild bird populations globally, with significant outbreaks affecting various bird species. For instance, between December 2014 and May 2016, Nigeria alone lost over 2.7 million birds. Recent incidents in Wales this summer prompted the Welsh Government to advise tourists not to touch dead birds on the west and northern coasts of the country.

This pioneering project aims to bridge the innovation gap through an app designed to help farmers in rural Nigeria stay informed about measures to limit the spread of Avian Influenza. The app will also reinforce the efforts of extension officers. It will be deployed and tested in Ogun State, Nigeria, in collaboration with Poultry Connect—a cooperative platform for resource sharing in the poultry industry, led by Segun Adepoju.

Our team brings together diverse expertise: Kodi Monte in human health, Ahmad Hassan in veterinary medicine, Samson Omeiza Balogun in parasitology and disease awareness, and Maria Luisa de la Puerta Fernández in livestock production and ICT.

The research efforts will be backed by Aberystwyth University, especially by the project PI Edore Akpokodje, from the department of Computer Science, and Professor Luis Mur, a renowned global expert in One Health, based at the Department of Life Sciences.

Maria de la Puerta, our CEO and founder of Omeva Consulting and Aberystwyth PhD student said: “Technology can improve agricultural information delivery and boost farmers' productivity. With increasing mobile phone penetration, rural connectivity among small-holder farmers has seen a significant revolution. We intend to build on this momentum by building a platform, actively involving poultry farmers and stakeholders in developing user-friendly, relevant information that is accessible offline. Ultimately the platform and app will benefit the health of the people, animals, and ecosystems.”

Aberystwyth University graduate Samson Balogun, who founded the Neglected Disease Eradication Campaign (NeDEC), commented: “It is fantastic to have received this award from such prestigious institutions. Recent events demonstrate the urgent need to explore innovative approaches for preventing and controlling future outbreaks effectively.”

Project supervisor Dr. Edore Akpokodje from the Department of Computer Science at Aberystwyth University commented: “Many congratulations to the students and graduates who have won this award. I am looking forward to supporting them as they develop the project in what is such an important field.”

The project will be implemented in partnership with Neglected Disease Eradication Campaign (NeDEC), a non-profit dedicated to reducing Neglected Diseases' impact in local communities in Nigeria through healthcare worker training, education, and research. For more information on the project email us at info@omevaconsulting.com or info@nedec.com.ng.

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