CTPH works in five unique areas of Uganda, click the tabs below to learn more about where we operate.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is in Southwestern Uganda and a UNESCO World Heritage Site covering an area of 331 square kilometres. It became a national park in 1991. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to an estimated half of the world’s 880 critically endangered mountain gorillas. The park is situated in three districts: Kanungu District where CTPH field office is located, Kisoro District where we also have field programs and Kabale District, which recently sub divided into Rubanda District. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is situated along the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley, a few kilometres north of the Virunga Volcanoes where the second population of mountain gorillas are found. The park is a sanctuary for the rare L’hoests monkey, blue monkey, Colobus monkeys, elephants, chimpanzees and other wildlife, but is most notable for its famous resident – the mountain gorilla. Approximately half of the gorilla groups are habituated for tourism. CTPH office and Gorilla Conservation Camp is located in Buhoma Village, the main tourist site for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Our main interest in this area is the conservation of the critically endangered mountain gorilla through promoting gorilla health and conservation, community health and alternative livelihoods. We work closely with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), District Local Governments Health and Veterinary offices, and the Bwindi Community Hospital – an NGO missionary Hospital.
Adjacent to the Gorilla Conservation Camp is the Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Centre where we monitor gorilla health through checking on sick gorillas and collecting gorilla faecal samples, which we then analyse at our field laboratory. Gorilla fecal samples are collected by park rangers and trackers and members of the Human-Gorilla conflict resolution Teams (HUGOs), who are trained to ensure maximum security and good relations between the local community and the gorillas by chasing gorillas back to their forest home when they forage on community land.
The Community Conservation Centre provides a space to conduct meetings with the local community and other CTPH partners including Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The Gorilla Conservation Camp, provides restaurant and accommodation facilities for visitors and tourists. This centre also hosts interns, students and researchers conducting their studies under the guidance and supervision of CTPH staff.
Our unique community model is the Village Health and Conservation Teams (VHCTs)—a CTPH innovation that expands the existing Village Health Teams to include conservation in their community health outreach—to provide maximum service delivery to last mile users including family planning (FP), hygiene and sanitation promoting, infectious disease prevention and control, nutrition and sustainable agriculture as well as education on the risks of human and gorilla disease transmission, reporting homes regularly visited by gorillas and forest conservation. We do this through an integrated Population, Health and Environment (PHE) or One Health approach. We also work with Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) in promoting the health and husbandry of livestock that can be carriers of zoonotic diseases—that threaten the survival of gorillas. Livestock are a major source of income to the VHCTs through group livelihood projects.
Among our programmes in this site is the Mobile Clinic – a pilot project that we use to accelerate uptake of health services mainly family planning, and primary health services to communities in hard-to-reach villages that need these services.
CTPH works in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in two provinces within North Kivu around Virunga National Park: Mount Tshiabirimu in the northern sector and Mikeno in the southern sector. Virunga is one of the oldest national parks in Africa being established in 1925 and covering an area of 7,800 km².
All target communities live in villages within frontline parishes situated within 1 km from the park boundary. They are among the poorest and most marginalized in the country having the least access to social services and resources to meet their most basic needs. Homes bordering the park also face conflict with wildlife, which in turn affects food security. We are primarily concerned about disease transmission between humans and critically endangered gorillas and expanding an integrated gorilla and human health model that has been successfully implemented at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
CTPH has trained park rangers at Mount Tshiabirimu in gorilla health monitoring. Using the VHCT model, CTPH delivers family planning, community health and gorilla conservation to the last mile user through an integrated PHE approach. We prevent and control cross species disease transmission by training VHCTs to promote good health and hygiene practices and refer people with infectious diseases to the nearest health centres. VHCTs also collect monthly indicators from their communities on health and conservation. We also promote the health of livestock that can be carriers of zoonotic diseases where people and gorillas meet.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve is found in western Uganda in the districts of Kasese, Rubirizi, Rukingiri, Kanungu and Kamwenge covering an area of 1,978 km². It includes the Maramagambo Forest and borders the Kigezi game reserve, Kyambura game reserve and Kibale National Park in Uganda and the Virunga National Park in the DRC.
The park is known for its diverse wildlife including the Cape buffalo, hippopotamus, crocodile, elephants, leopards, lions and chimpanzees among others. It is also famous for its volcanic features including the volcanic cones and deep crater lakes like the Katwe crater from which salt is excavated.
Our work at this site includes the CTPH Telecentre located in the UWA Visitor Information Centre at the Queen’s Pavilion along the Crater Drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Telecentre was officially opened in 2007 by His Royal Highness Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh. It trains people to use computers and access internet at the centre and in their villages through a roving telecentre with cached websites, improving their attitudes to wildlife conservation. The centre is run by CTPH staff from two of the most disadvantaged communities around the park, Hamukungu and Kikorongo villages, who serve the tourists Gorilla Conservation Coffee (a social enterprise started by CTPH) and other beverages. With a stunning panoramic view of the craters, Ruwenzori Mountain, road to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Equator, added to the internet provided by the CTPH Telecentre, the world becomes smaller, enabling people and businesses to surpass geographical barriers instantaneously.
We have established an early warning system for zoonotic disease outbreaks in this site, where we work with UWA to test buffalo and other wild animals for diseases that can spread between wildlife, humans and livestock. CTPH works with UWA to train the park staff in wildlife health monitoring including reporting clinical signs and collecting samples from animals found dead in the park that could have died of Anthrax or other fatal diseases. CTPH also works with the Kasese and Rubirizi District Veterinary Officers and surrounding communities to improve the health of the livestock through tests, treatments and vaccinations. CTPH initiated the formation of a pastoralist network of Conservation Community Animal Health Workers (CCAHWs) who are trained to improve the health and husbandry of livestock in the community as well as promote 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 and are local community volunteers. In addition to their educational responsibilities, these community volunteers work with CTPH and UWA to test wildlife in the park for diseases that can spread at the wildlife/livestock/humans interface. They also play a vital role in improving community health as they treat livestock and report sick wildlife in their villages to UWA, creating an early warning system for disease outbreaks between wildlife, livestock and people.
As a result of CTPH efforts, the Conservation Community Animal Health Workers (CCAHWs) community volunteers of Hamukungu Village have rescued two baby elephants – only a few weeks old, which were drowning in Lake George. The Chief Warden – Nelson Guma expressed his appreciation to CTPH for changing the communities’ attitudes to the extent that they are able to carry out bravely rescue a baby elephant on a canoe. The two elephants, Charles Hamukungu rescued in 2011 and Edward Twikiriza rescued in 2016 are now safe, healthy and adapted to life at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre with the care of their devoted zoo keepers.
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is in the Karamoja region in north-eastern Uganda and the second largest protected area in Uganda after Murchison Falls National Park covering an area of 2,275 square kilometres. Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve along with Matheniko and Bokora Wildlife Reserve is located between Mt. Elgon National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park and was established as a game reserve in the 1960s. Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is part of the Mount Elgon Conservation Area (MECA). It once hosted high densities of abundant wildlife, which was poached in the 1970s and 1980s during the Idi Amin era. Efforts are being made to restore it to the former glory. In the recent past, the reserve is mostly unexplored and with virgin pristine habitat known to harbor unique wildlife including cheetahs, the greater Kudu, Roan Antelope, eland and a vast array of unique bird species including ostriches.
CTPH works in Nakapiritpirit District where with support from the French Embassy Social Development Fund we established a field program to train park staff and community animal health workers to promote conservation and public health. We work with the District Veterinary Officer to train Conservation Community Animal Health Workers (CCAHWs) as community volunteers who through a One Health approach to support an early warning system of disease outbreaks by promoting conservation, community health and hygiene and improving the health and husbandry of community livestock, to boost the income from their livestock projects and prevent disease transmission between livestock, wildlife and people. The CCAHWS have been encouraged to form Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) that improve their income and livelihoods. Our programmes here include disease surveillance and training park staff in wildlife health monitoring, and training CCAHWS to promote conservation and deliver community livestock health service and advise on husbandry, while encouraging people to vaccinate their livestock.
In 2015, two baby cheetahs were rescued by park rangers from local communities who were trying to look after them after their other was most likely killed when she was eating their goats. Karimajong Overland Safaris based in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, contacted CTPH CEO for advice on feeding the cheetah, which refused to drink cow’s milk. After Dr Gladys consulted UWEC and UWA they decided that the cheetah should be brought to the Zoo, with expertise in captive care where special milk was flown in from South Africa. With the correct diet, the baby cheetahs named Pian and Upe after the protected areas where they came from, quickly gained weight and doubled in size within a few weeks. CTPH brought a volunteer from USA – Jenny Kohl who had worked in zoos in USA, and provided very good training for the cheetah keepers to keep the cheetah active and have the right enhancement and interaction with people. This year the cheetahs got an exhibit and can be seen at UWEC.
Mount Elgon National Park—located in eastern Uganda—covers an area of 1,279 square kilometers and is bisected by the border of Kenya and Uganda. It became a national park in the 1990s and is also a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve and an important source of water for the Lake Victoria Basin. Together with the fauna and flora, including elephants that mine salt in the caves, the park has a variety of scenery including cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot springs and the mountain peaks.
All target frontline communities in Mt. Elgon National Park, Uganda are within 1 km of the park boundary. CTPH has programs within three districts—Bukwo, Kween and Bulambuli—each facing challenges related to their mountain ecosystem and proximity to the park; this includes high population densities, environmental degradation and human/wildlife conflict. Bukwo District covers 33 km along the park boundary with 8 sub-counties and 20 parishes and CTPH is working in 2 parishes with the highest need. Kween has four sub-counties neighboring the national park and CTPH is working in one parish. Bulambuli runs 18 km along the park boundary in 6 sub counties and 16 parishes and CTPH is working within 2 parishes.
CTPH scaled up the Village Health and Conservation Team (VHCT) model piloted at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to communities around Mount Elgon National Park. Through an integrated population, health and environment (PHE) approach, we work with VHCTs to provide service delivery in regards to family planning and community and ecosystem health and collect monthly indicators from the communities on health and conservation.