Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH)
Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), founded in 2003, is a Ugandan registered NGO and US registered non profit organisation that conducts programs to promote biodiversity conservation by enabling people, wildlife and livestock to coexist by improving their quality of life in and around Africa’s protected areas. The CTPH has a special focus on the endangered mountain gorilla and has programs in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve in Uganda, as well as Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and extended cooperative work with national parks and environmental hot spots in neighbouring countries. This includes protecting gorillas and other wildlife from human and livestock disease by reducing their presence in the vicinity of wildlife, which they achieve by:
- strengthening gorilla and wildlife health monitoring
- increasing the local use of family planning
- sustaining volunteer based integrated health and conservation outreach with income generating projects and microfinance
- using information and communication technology to help both local-level development and to educate people about the environment and advocacy on the value of integrated approaches to sustainable development
CTPH's uses its Telecentre(s) to help integrate their strategies of wildlife health and public health monitoring, sustainable household livelihoods and community education. CTPH was founded by Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Lawrence Zikusoka, and Stephen Rubanga.
CTPH uses three integrated strategies to address these issues: wildlife health monitoring, human public health and information, education, communication and technology.
- Human Public Health: A Population, Health and Environment (PHE) approach is being used to reduce threats to mountain gorillas and other wildlife, by consolidating community based health care to promote family planning, and prevent and control TB, scabies, HIV/AIDS and dysentery, thus building strong links between the community and local health centres.
- Community education focuses on the linkages between good health and hygiene habits, gorilla health, ecotourism and sustainable livelihoods, and is achieved through several means including i) theatre with local drama groups, ii) distribution of brochures and newsletters, iii) health message sign posts in key areas, iv) targeted village health talks and home visits by CTPH-facilitated community volunteers.
- Information, Education and Communication Technology: Community Telecentres address the problems of poverty, isolation, poor health practices, lack of knowledge on sustainable environments, and limited access to education and job training in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Community members, primarily youth, learn computer skills, as well as accessing mobile phone and Internet technologies and community websites in the local languages.
- Scaling Up: A similar model is being replicated to address wildlife and livestock disease issues in a savannah habitat in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, which are sites that innovate and demonstrate approaches to conservation and sustainable development.
- CTPH has also started a similar model across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the North Virunga National Park through a partnership with Institute Congolais de Conservation de Nature (ICCN) and the Gorilla Organization, an international NGO working in Mount Tshiabirimu, the northernmost range for gorillas in the Virungas.
- Currently, CTPH has 112 community conservation health volunteers working in Bwindi Impenetrable and Queen Elizabeth National Parks, and is setting up a similar system in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they plan to recruit another 20 community volunteers in the near future.