CTPH is working with the Kanungu District Medical Office and local health centers to improve the health of Bwindi communities. 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. This is done by facilitating the formation of community health volunteer networks, which educate and encourage their community to be more hygienic and have better health practices and conservation attitudes. To sustain the volunteer efforts, CTPH is helping to create Community Based Organizations to spearhead this approach in their communities, and has introduced income generating livestock livelihood projects for the community groups to derive an income to sustain their volunteer efforts. CTPH also engages traditional healers and gets them to refer suspect TB and HIV patients, as well become their community volunteer who watches them taking treatment for eight months, as part of the Community Based Direct Observation of Treatments Short Course Therapy (CBDOTS) national strategy.
Community education focuses on relationship between good health and hygiene habits which in turn affects gorilla health, ecotourism and sustainable livelihoods. We achieve this through several methods including:
- Local drama groups disseminating our message.
- Targeting village health talks and home visits by CTPH-facilitated community volunteers using visual aids such as flip charts incorporating the “gorilla conservation through public health” message.
- Distribution of educational brochures and newsletters.
- Promoting the health message via sign posts in key areas.
In Queen Elizabeth National Park, CTPH is working with the Kasese District Veterinary Office and surrounding communities to improve the health of the livestock. CTPH encouraged the pastoralists to form a network of community animal health workers (CAHWS) who are trained to improve the health and husbandry of livestock in the community as well as promoting an understanding of disease issues between wildlife, livestock and people. They are model change agents improving conservation attitudes and public health practices in their community. In addition to their educational responsibilities, these community volunteers work with CTPH to test cattle and other livestock surrounding the park for diseases that can spread between livestock and wildlife.
- Enrolling more than 50 individuals living around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in TB treatment (implementing Community Based Direct Observation of Treatment methods).
- Counselling more than 1,500 rural residents through home visits on family planning methods and infectious diseases that can be transmitted between people, wildlife, and livestock; a third of the homes having regular “interactions” with gorillas.
- Training 30 community volunteers around Queen Elizabeth National Park, in animal and human disease issues and human/wildlife conflict resolution thus empowering community conservation leaders and promoting sustainable livelihoods.
- Educating more than 7,000 Bwindi community members about the links between conservation, public health, ecotourism, and sustainable livelihoods through community drama workshops, brochures and five health message signposts.
- Creating five community volunteer networks around Bwindi Impenetrable and Queen Elizabeth National Parks improving the health of people and animals, of which one of the Bwindi networks became a community based organization.
- Developing the first innovative flip charts for peer education on the “gorilla conservation through public health message”, on ecofriendly sisal based grain sacks.
- Starting the third pilot Community Based Depo-Provera project in Uganda of three monthly interval contraception injections given by trained CTPH community health volunteers, ensuring better compliance of women on this contraception with potential to making this a national policy.
- Over 290 new modern family planning users in two years among volunteer household clients, four times higher than expected based on historical trends, of which 40% of the homes visited bordered the park and considered at higher risk for human/gorilla interaction including disease transmission.
- Two pilot radio programs with community testimonies encouraging people to got for TB testing and enrol in the CBDOTS program, and to adopt modern family planning,
Broaden and strengthen our base of key stakeholders with whom we are conducting integrated conservation and public health awareness campaigns and strengthen the tools to evaluate the impact of community health programs.
- Strengthen the community health volunteer networks to achieve maximum conservation impact by encouraging them through monthly meetings to distribute contraceptives, and educate people on the benefits and methods of family planning, TB, HIV/AIDS, scabies, dysentery and good hygiene. At these meetings, the data they collect during village health talks and couple peer education home visits is reviewed.
- Training workshops for the PHE community volunteers to use GPS and measure improvement of Ministry of Health hygiene indicators in the homes that they visit.
- Continue CBDOTS and HIV/AIDS education in the two parishes, Mukono and Bujengwe, working more closely with the traditional healers.
- Expand CBDOTS and HIV/AIDS education to other high human and gorilla conflict parishes.
- Expand CBDEPO to other high human and gorilla conflict parishes
- Host and coordinate biannual meetings of the Public Health and Conservation Technical Support Unit, made up of local government, UWA and supporting NGOs.
Whitley Fund for Nature / World Wildlife Fund
Spell Out Family Health International
African Wildlife Foundation
Wildlife Conservation Society
Camp Dresser and McKee International
International Gorilla Conservation Programme
Worldwide Veterinary Services
Kanungu District Local Government
Kasese District Local Government
Bwindi Community Hospital