| Nov 24, 2023
Urgent Action to curb COVID to people and gorillas
By Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka | Founder and CEO
Mukono Parish VHCTs in a group photo
This report covers the progress of Conservation Through Public Health’s (CTPH) project (#52950) on GlobalGiving “Urgent Action to curb COVID to people and gorillas”.
The last report was submitted in July 2023. At that time, the project had raised $25,257.75 of the $30,000 funding goal from 83 donors. To date, the project has raised $28,519.94 out of the $30,000 Funding Goal, thanks to all our individual donor on GlobalGiving like you.
As a recap to the main objectives of this project, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, our Village Health and Conservation Teams members (VHCTs) were among the Village COVID-19 Taskforces (VCTFs) who were recruited to manage the pandemic through Home Based Care, support and surveillance in their respective villages bordering Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
While prevalence of COVID-19 cases in Uganda has reduced (and testing has also reduced significantly), mitigation measures to prevent its onward spread and the spread of other emerging and/or re-emerging diseases amongst people and from the people to the endangered mountain gorillas and other wildlife and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park remains critical. To support this, we have done the following in this quarter:
Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), together with other health and conservation partners, identified, recruited, and trained an additional 99 new VHCTs to expand the program as well as to replace those that had retired and/or moved away which had created a gap in program outreaches.
CTPH scaled up the VHCTs program to two more parishes of Muramba and Ngara, where 75 VHCTs were recruited and 2 parish Coordinators were selected among the 75 VHCTs. All the 75 VHCTs were trained in priority One Health and conservation issues and service provision. This scaling up will help to increase the coverage of our programs to address Population, Health, and Environmental issues and improve community health, wellbeing, emergency disease mitigation and gorilla conservation around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This brings the current number of VHCTs to 429.
Gorilla Health Monitoring
Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) field team, led by our Wildlife Health and Laboratory Technician, Annaclet Ampeire, and Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers and Gorilla Guardians, continued their routine gorilla health monitoring through non-invasive gorilla fecal sample collection from gorilla nests of all the 25 habituated gorilla groups of Bwindi and Mgahinga Conservation Area (BMCA). This quarter, the team managed to collect and preserve a total of 826 gorilla fecal samples. All these fecal samples were analysed at the Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Centre to check for diseases including those they could have picked up from humans and livestock, enabling them to be attended to in a timely manner if health risks were identified.
Together with VHCTs, VCTFs and other Health and Conservation partners, we remain alert to swing into action in case there are any cases of COVID-19 or other emerging or re-emerging zoonotic diseases.
We would like to thank GlobalGiving and all the individual donors for the continued support to protecting mountain gorillas and supporting the communities living around the gorillas’ habitat of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park