Tag Archives: CTPH

Dog vaccination in Iraaro village

Today we a team from Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) comprising of Stephen Rubanga, David Matsiko, Kityo Emmanuel and Alex Nabirano went to Iraaro to do dog vaccination with Dr. Lynn Murrel. 26 dogs were vaccinated against rabbies a zoonotic disease that can be harmful to human beings and wildlife especially the gorillas. Well done the team!DSCN0095

Aquaponics at CTPH

ECOLIFE Foundation has been collaborating with Conservation Through Public Health for the last six months. At the CTPH field station in Bwindi, Uganda we have created an Aquaponics system right next to the critically endangered mountain gorillas.

CTPH Staff participating in  the building of the acquaponics project in Bwindi

CTPH Staff participating in the building of the acquaponics project in Bwindi

Aquaponics is the symbiotic growing of plants and aquatic animals in a re-circulating environment. It combines vegetable and fish farming. Water is cycled with a water pump run by solar electricity between fish tanks and vegetable growing areas. Fish waste acts as a natural fertilizer for the crops. Plants and beneficial bacteria scrub ammonia and other nitrogenous compounds from the water, making it safe for the fish.The CTPH Aquaponics system will serve as a self-sustaining prototype and model to aid capacity building in the region. As Aquaponics provides an easily manageable means of producing additional sources of income and protein, and systems can be reproduced in all shapes and sizes, we hope these will be replicated throughout the district. In additional to increasing income and protein, it also reduces the human impact on our environment. Aquaponics lessens pressure on wildlife, whether it be the bush meat trade or over-fishing, it also replicates natural systems such as lakes and rivers, creating a near zero impact method of food production. It uses no soil for growing and once the initial building is done the only input is food for the fish.

Replicating the module to Uganda

Replicating the model to Uganda

For more information on Aquaponics please visit: www.ECOLIFEFOUNDATION.org

Disease Transmission Risks Tourists Pose The Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

By Allison Hanes

I first heard about Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) while working as a veterinary technician at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists in Manhattan. One of the internists had interviewed someone with work experience at CTPH and told me to check it out. I was very much interested in conservation, primates, and healthcare development work so I did my research and kept it in mind. Two years later in the first weeks of my MSc course in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University I was speaking with my supervisor Dr. Catherine Hill and I told her that I was interested in sustainable development and conservation medicine. Conservation medicine is the health interface between people, animals (both wild and domestic), and the environment. She immediately directed me again to CTPH and CEO/founder Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka in Uganda. There was a reason that this NGO was pointed out to me several times. We share the same values and mission. The CTPH mission is to conserve wildlife by improving the primary healthcare of people in and around protected areas in Africa. I feel passionately about all people having a basic right to primary healthcare and safe drinking water and that the health of people and animals living near one another is interconnected. I think that in order to achieve good conservation you must work with the local people and allow them access to basic necessities and the health of the whole ecosystem depends on it. It is very hard to protect endangered species without addressing the problems within the region. I am particularly interested in primary healthcare and clean drinking water development projects, conservation, conservation medicine, veterinary medicine, ecotourism, and primates. I have done a lot of research and I don’t think there is another organization out there that aligns so well with my interests. So when my supervisor gave me Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka’s contact information, I sent her a list of potential MSc thesis projects immediately. We conversed for months through email and I am now here in Uganda doing a study on the disease transmission risks that tourists pose the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Forest edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.

Forest edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.

I arrived in Kampala about three weeks ago. I was in the capital for two weeks, much longer than expected for research permits. However, when I arrived here they told me I received clearance fairly quickly. To make up time spent in the capital I began my pilot study immediately.
My study has three main activities. They are to distribute questionnaires to tourists, conduct interviews with tourists after their treks, and collect saliva samples from tourists, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) staff, and vegetation of three habituated tourist groups of mountain gorillas at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP).

Briefing and collecting saliva swabs from Uganda Wildlife Authority guides and trackers Sunday, Albert, and David.

Briefing and collecting saliva swabs from Uganda Wildlife Authority guides and trackers Sunday, Albert, and David.

I am also interviewing locals and staff for a greater understanding and to possibly put together a documentary for CTPH, UWA and/or myself. I am working every day and making good progress. I have finished my pilot study and soon need to draft my final interview questions and questionnaire. I aim to complete a sample size of 25 formal interviews and 250 questionnaires.

I have collected about a quarter of my projected 75 saliva samples. The toughest and most time consuming feat will be to track gorillas, identify them, and reliably collect fresh gorilla saliva. Especially since some of the groups are a round trip hike of eight hours up into the mountains and in my first trek I collected one trustworthy sample. However, I have only been working one full week and a lot of that time was spent meeting and briefing UWA staff, lodge staff, and locals about my research plans. Now I know a great deal of the people in both Buhoma and Bwindi and I have a schedule to move things along quicker.

CTPH community volunteer meeting that included discussions on washing household utensils, contraception, and the ECOLIFE Aquaponics project.

CTPH community volunteer meeting that included discussions on washing household utensils, contraception, and the ECOLIFE Aquaponics project.

I normally wake up at 6:00am, arrive at the briefing area at 7:15am to depart on an advanced trek, return with samples, brief staff and tourists on my research and answer questions, distribute questionnaires to tourists, request interviews and swabs from UWA staff and tourists, and return to lodges to interview tourists. I often don’t get home until dark after dinner via boda boda and I am very tired.
Nonetheless, I am enjoying every moment of this experience. It is rewarding to know that UWA and CTPH find this information helpful and practical. Plus I get to enjoy the gorillas while fulfilling my MSc dissertation requirements. I hope to make a large contribution to organizations, the gorillas, and local people.

Young girl at orphanage organizing the artwork sold to tourists after their daily 5pm dance performance

Young girl at orphanage organizing the artwork sold to tourists after their daily 5pm dance performance

I will be here for about one more month, a total of only nine weeks. I am very grateful and happy to be here. I am honored to work for such an amazing organization. Thank you CTPH for having me!

Rushegura group Kibande baby checking out tourists while climbing tree.

Rushegura group Kibande baby checking out tourists while climbing tree.

Providing critical veterinary services where there are no vets

CTPH‘s veterinary team together with teams from the University of Barcelona in Spain, the Andorran government and the Ugandan Ministries of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and Health (MoH)’s Vector Control Division spent three weeks treating livestock belonging to the impoverished communities living around Bwindi Impenetrable and Queen Elizabeth National Parks in the biodiversity rich Albertine rift of East and Central Africa. These communities and their animals often come into contact with wildlife including the critically endangered mountain gorillas. Such interventions help ascertain the risk the communities pose to wildlife.

Veterinary staff from Spain, Andorra, MAAIF, MoH and CTPH pose for a group photo

Veterinary staff from Spain, Andorra, MAAIF, MoH and CTPH pose for a group photo

CTPH's founder and CEO Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka drawing a blood sample from agoat. Restarinign the goat is Dr. Ignaci from the University of Barcelona, Spain

CTPH's founder and CEO Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka drawing a blood sample from a goat. Restraining the goat is Dr. Ignaci from the University of Barcelona, Spain

CTPH's Chief Veterinary Technician Mr. Stephen Rubanga drawing blood from a cow. Looking on is CTPH's Dr. Abdulhameed Kateregga

CTPH's Chief Veterinary Technician Mr. Stephen Rubanga drawing blood from a cow. Looking on is CTPH's Dr. Abdulhameed Kateregga

Positive change to the communities living near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Miriam Bifumbo is a Community Conservation Health Worker (CCHW) whose village Mukono is frequently visited by the two gorilla groups of Rushegura and Mubare. Her husband is a traditional healer. People from her village are amazed to see the communities living near the protected area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park changing the way of living in a positive way. The above has been attributed to CTPH work and the commitment it has on the poorest people living around the protected areas.

Children from Nyamishamba playing in front of their household

Children playing in front of their home.

On 3rd January 2011, David Matsiko and Alex Ngabirano, both working with CTPH  visited Miriam Bifumbo. She narrated what she thinks the community have benefited from Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) programs since she took up her volunteer position with CTPH in 2007.

Miriam Bifumbo said that CTPH programs have changed the communities in a very positive way. ‘’Since 2007 I have noticed an improvement in very many households in my village. People sweep their houses and compounds, women no longer give birth at home  but rather at hospital, and there is improved hygiene and sanitation especially in women whenever they are passing through public places” Miriam stated.

IMGP0062

Community Conservation Health Workers (CCHWs) attending a Population Health and Environment (PHE) monthly meeting

She added that many people drink boiled water and have clean containers.  Men who did not mind about family planning have now started understanding the importance of family planning and sometimes accompany their women whenever they are going to get family planning service from the CCHWs. Many women now space child births by at least 2 years.  The above are attributed to the three CTPH programs that have contributed to the co-existence of people, wildlife and livestock.

CTPH at PASA

CTPH was represented at the 2010 Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) Veterinary Workshop by Dr. Abdulhameed Kateregga. The workshop ran from the 14th – 20th November 2010. He gave a presentation about CTPH‘s work around protected areas in Africa.

Dr. Abdulhameed Kateregga giving a presentation at the PASA workshop

Dr. Abdulhameed Kateregga giving a presentation at the PASA workshop. Looking on is PASA and Chester Zoo's Steve Unwin

CTPH CEO IS RUNNER UP FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD

CTPH Founder and CEO Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is runner up for the Conde Nast Traveler 21st Annual Environmental Award for her efforts towards conserving the endangered mountain gorillas. Dr. Gladys, as she is known locally, founded Conservation Through Public Health in 2002 (CTPH) to improve the health of Uganda’s mountain gorillas by focusing on improving the health of the people and livestock around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Dr. Gladys in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest tracking the endangered mountain gorillas

Dr. Gladys in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest tracking the endangered mountain gorillas

.

BWINDI PARK RANGERS LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY GORILLAS USING MODERN TECHNOLOGY

Knowledge is useless unless it makes an impact on one’s life and the surrounding. This is one of the remarks Mr. John Justice Tibesigwa who represented the Area Conservation Manager for Bwindi and Mgahinga Conservation Area (BMCA) used at the closure of a three days training workshop in digital photography from 18th-20th October 2010.
The workshop was a second one in two months for the rangers. It was aimed at equipping the rangers with modern and update technology on how best they can improve on their Wildlife Health Monitoring techniques in BMCA.
The training attracted rangers from different habituated gorilla groups in BMCA especially from Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Rangers including Agenya David, Otekat James both from Buhoma were joined by Kyosimiire Scovia from Ruhija, Binaisa Godfrey from Rushaga and Tugumisirize Richard from Nkuringo.

Rangers and CTPH team with Mr. Muramura

Rangers, CTPH Team and Mr. Muramura pose for a photo in Bwindi Forest

CTPH Team headed by Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, also attended the training. They included Stephen Rubanga, Joseph Byonanebye, Dr. Abdulhameed Kateregga, Hillary Agaba and David Matsiko. Mr. Muramura P Musiime took the participants in the introduction to digital camera where he emphasized the use of very good pictures in Wildlife Health Monitoring. He illustrated how to take very good pictures and the rangers learnt from him.
On day two and three, the rangers and the CTPH Team went to track M and R gorilla groups while learning from Muramura how to take very nice pictures.
After the training, the five rangers went home with cameras each that will be used in wildlife health monitoring.
Godfrey Balyesiima the warden Tourism and John Justice Tibesigwa who represented the CAM were very happy for the cordial working relationship between CTPH and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
In August, the same rangers were trained. All these trainings are aimed at controlling disease transmission at the wildlife-human-livestock interface while cultivating a winning attitude towards conservation and public health in the local communities surrounding BMCA.

Gorilla identification sample picture from one of the rangers

Gorilla identification sample picture from one of the rangers

Capturing rare moments

UWA rangers were recently trained on digital photography so that they may be able to capture rare events in the lives of the endangered mountain gorillas at a workshop facilitated by CTPH at CTPH’s Gorilla Conservation Camp.

One of the photos taken and edited by UWA rangers during the training

One of the photos taken and edited by UWA rangers during the training

Quick, Call the Vet

Last week, CTPH trained about 30 Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) in and around Bwindi Impentrable National Park.  Many of the communities around the park have no veterinary officer or veterinary drug shop. Many of the farmers cannot afford the cost of the district veterinary officer travelling from district headquarters, a journey of 2 hours. With growing human populations interacting with livestock and wildlife, infectious disease is a very real threat in these communities. CTPH trains Community Animal Health Workers to bridge this gap, offering basic animal health services to their communities and referring harder cases to the district veterinary offices.CAHWs training