Press Release

FAO strengthens Iraq’s animal disease surveillance and reporting system capacity through the Event Mobile Application (E MA-I) 21-23 February 2023

03 March 2023

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Agriculture and water resource-KRG and with the financial support of the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), conducted a follow up-training workshop on the Event Mobile Application (EMA-i) in Erbil from 21 to 23 February 2023.

For the first time in Iraq and in collaboration with veterinary services, FAO introduced the Event Mobile Application (EMA-i) services. The first workshop was organized between 17 and 19 October 2022, in Baghdad, to facilitate real-time disease reporting and improve quantity and quality of notified disease reports, and to display disease situations, support decision-making, and prevent potential disease spread and early response to emergency cases.  Therefore, it is crucial to apply a system at the national level, to enhance veterinary services’ capacities in disease reporting from the field to decision-makers, ease and speed information sharing among stakeholders. FAO has developed EMA-i for data collection and to facilitate real-time disease reporting to support veterinary services’ capacities in disease surveillance and notification implemented in the field.

Dr.Salah El Hajj Hassan, FAO Representative in Iraq, underlined the importance of this collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (KRI) to improve early warning system and response to exceptional disease events, offer a better knowledge of animal health situation in regions and in the country for targeted disease control to protect and improve animal health of the livestock and livelihoods of farmers and livestock owners in the country and in the whole region. He added: “This training of trainers on the Event Mobile Application (EMA-i) aims at enhancing early warning systems and will ultimately contribute to the reduction of the food and health security threats arising from emerging, transboundary as well as endemic pathogens.”

The use of an electronic system for data collection by EMA-I application on smartphones, as well as data management, analysis, and reporting using Global Animal Disease Information System (EMPRES-i) will support veterinary services capacities in disease surveillance implemented in the field. Using the application will significantly increase the number of reports received from field veterinarians. Moreover, it will improve the coherence in sharing epidemiological information between neighbouring districts, regions, and national governments.

Following the requests raised after the first training held in Baghdad, Iraq, an updated version of the application was developed considering participants' notes and recommendations. A training, integrating these new requested functionalities, is conducted amongst trainees from the first session to strengthen their skills. Practical exercises were conducted to guide them in mastering the application. A particular focus was given to the web-based platform (EMPRES-i+) allowing the completion of disease report workflow ( for data management).

The activity involved 33 participants from the veterinary departments from   Al-Anbar, Al-Muthanna, Basrah, Duhok, Ninawa and Wasit in addition to Baghdad and Erbil central departments, and representatives from the Ministry of Health were invited to strengthen collaboration and exchange information related to zoonotic diseases as part of the One Health concept.


Khawla Ben Aicha

Communications Specialist
Salah Elhajjhassan

Salah Elhajjhassan

Mr Hajj Hassan, a national of Lebanon, holds a Ph.D. in Plant Production from the University of Agriculture, Damascus, Syria; a Master of Science degree in Plant Production and a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering, both from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
He started his career in 1984, as Senior Research Assistant in the Agricultural Research and Education Centre (AREC), American University of Beirut. From 1987 to 1991, he was Coordinator of the Student Training Programme, and also Agriculture and Horticultural Teacher for the Faculty of Agriculture, at the Lebanese University.
From 1991 to 1995, he worked as Agricultural Engineer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Bekaa Regional Office, Zahlah and was then assigned to the Agricultural Research Institute in the Tal Amara station, first as Head of the Crop Production Department and subsequently in charge of the Plant Protection Laboratory. From 2002 to 2006, he was Director of the Kfardane Research Station (Agricultural Research Institute). In 2008, he became Visiting Scientist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and Coordinator of a project with the International Centre for Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.
In 2010, he served as Advisor to the Minister for Agriculture of Lebanon. In 2011, he became President of the Pesticide Scientific Committee, Head of the Phytoplasma Committee and Director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (ARDP) (EU-funded project). From 2010 to 2013, he represented Lebanon in negotiations with EU, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. During his career, Mr Hajj Hassan also carried out a number of other functions. He represented the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) in several research programmes with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the American University of Beirut. He was Coordinator of the Mashreq/Maghreb project with ICARDA, representing Lebanon in the Steering Committee, as well as being the Head of the Sugar-beet Delivery and of the Wheat Delivery Committees. For a number of years, Mr Hajj Hassan worked for the preparation of FAO TCP projects and served as the National Director of a TCP project. He joined FAO in January 2014 as FAO Representative in Yemen. Mr Hajj Hassan succeeds Mr El Zubi as FAO Representative in Iraq.

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