Tag Archives: Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka

A scientific study on a fact finding mission on what CTPH does on the ground by Makerere University students

Makerere University is a leading Institution of higher learning in Uganda. Students doing Masters in IDM and their lecturers came for a two day scientific study on a fact finding mission on what CTPH does on the ground. The students and lecturers were joined by among others from CTPH, Stephen Rubanga a founder and Program Officer, Animal Health Technical, David Matsiko Field Office Manager and Alex Ngabirano PHE Field Assistant. The Makerere University Lecturers were Dr. Sam Mujalija, Dr. Kazoora Herbert Brian and seven students.

Mzee Gongo on the water source

Stephen gave a presentation and over view of CTPH activities and stated the mission and Vision of CTPH. In Stephen’s presentation, he talked about why and when CTPH was founded singling out Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka who was working as a veterinary doctor before she founded CTPH as a hard working and visionary person.
The team had a visit to the park offices. Olivia Biira (Warden Community Bwindi Impenetrable National Park) gave a presentation to the team.

Olivia Biira explaining how CTPH works with UWA

In her presentation she talked about CTPH partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and how CTPH addresses the problem of disease transmission between people wildlife and livestock, creates awareness among the people living around the park and how it is controlling population pressure by practicing family planning around the park. She thanked CTPH for collecting and analyzing gorilla feacal samples and training rangers on sample collection. She also thanked CTPH for giving out livestock to the volunteers which is improving community livelihoods. The students were very happy to hear this.
The team visited Bahati Daudi. Bahati Daudi demonstrate using a flip chart

Bahati is a Community Conservation Health Volunteer from Kanyashande village in Mukono parish. Bahati demonstrated using CTPH flip charts how he teaches the community. He used the model of the bad and good family. In addition, Bahati demonstrates how he teaches people to put on condoms by using the carved mode
The team went to Bujengwe parish.

Hope Matsiko giving out an injection to the client

We first visited the home of Hope Matsiko where she demonstrated to the team how she administers family planning methods using Depo-Provera and how she refers those with side effects and those who want long term and permanent methods. The visiting team was very happy for this visit.

Stephen Rubanga explain how the livestock project for the volunteers started and its importance

Volunteering at CTPH has been one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences

I began working with CTPH in September 2011, as a marketing and development volunteer through the American Jewish World Service Volunteer Corps program. Before moving to Uganda I worked in international development in the US for about 2 years before finally making it to the African continent, and being here has by far surpassed my expectations. Volunteering at CTPH has been one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences I’ve ever had, and has made me more likely than ever to want to continue working on international issues.

1Gorilla research clinic new site

The work I’ve done for CTPH has been both interesting and dynamic. I was fortunate enough to come at a time when CTPH was considering its long-term strategic goals, and was able to support staff in their process of deciding where the organization wants to be in a year, three years, five years, and so on. Since then I’ve run a grant-writing workshop for CTPH staff, worked to improve our online presence by creating a Flickr and Twitter account, drafted brochures and newsletters, assisted in writing grants, worked on content for our new website (which we will be launching soon!), and helped out with the annual report and other donor-documents. I’ve been able to sit in on a number of meetings with partner organizations and stakeholders, as well as contribute some ideas on how to improve operations and grow CTPH’s model. I feel so fortunate to have been able to participate in such a meaningful way.

One of the most unusual and exciting aspects of CTPH is its ability to integrate numerous programs and approaches across sectors: whether working to achieve biodiversity conservation in some of Africa’s most beautiful protected areas through improving public health for some of the poorest people on the content; improving people’s livelihoods to decrease their dependency on tourism; or working to blend nonprofit-type philanthropy with innovative business practices, CTPH does a little bit of almost everything without diffusing its overall goals.

Daniela and Sam, a community conservation health volunteer at the village aquaponics projec

The village aquaponics project

Part of what drew me to accept a placement at CTPH was its unique mission: control the spread of diseases between humans, wildlife and livestock, thus conserving natural resources and biodiversity while simultaneously improving health for very poor, rural communities. In November I was fortunate enough to visit both Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest, two of the areas where we work, to observe a family-planning training for our network of community health volunteers. Although I was already impressed by CTPH’s integrated health and conservation model, seeing their program in action gave me whole new insights into the success of their programs. I got to observe two days of training for community conservation health volunteers in Buhoma District near Bwindi, and it was both impressive and moving to see this large network of people working together to improve conditions for their communities.

On my trip, I also got to visit our gorilla health research clinic, the village Aquaponics project and the site for our new Gorilla Conservation Camp and Gorilla Health Center.

Working with the dedicated CTPH staff has also been an amazing experience. Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is an inspiring mentor and leader, and it’s clear she has been head of the pack when it comes to combining conservation and development. I’m also continually impressed by the high quality of work that my colleagues and co-worker produce and have gained an enormous amount of knowledge from them both about the institutional structures in Uganda and about the sectors of conservation and public health specifically.

Community Conservation Health volunteer training on family planning in Kisoro districtKisoro volunteers receiving training on family planning

Beyond the enormous professional and intellectual opportunities accorded me in my time at CTPH, I feel a profound gratitude at having had a chance to live in this beautiful country and interact with its amazing people. I will miss Uganda and CTPH and hope that they are able to continue their impressive work for years to come!

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.


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



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