06 August 2010

Christine blogging for the week

This summer I am working with Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH). I finished my first year of my MSc in International Animal Health the first week of July. I spent a large part of my teenage age years tracking ebola across the globe and have always been interested in infectious disease epidemiology. I have this dream that I will trek into the jungles in one of those white space suits to find the newest emerging viral disease in Africa. As a step towards that dream, I wanted to get some field experience in infectious disease work.
Conservation through Public Health works in at the wildlife/human/livestock interface in protected areas here in Uganda and has a pilot program in Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda, like many sub-Saharan African countries, is experiencing explosive population growth (set to quadruple in the next 40 years according to United Nations figures). Much of this growth will be in rural areas, where the national parks are found and health facilities are few and poorly equipped. This growing population increases wildlife/livestock/human habitat overlap, creating more avenues for infectious disease transmission. In addition, agricultural output is very low in these rural areas, so poaching of wildlife and consumption of bush meat for protein is a reality.
I first heard of Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka (the founder of CTPH) in March. She is a dynamic Ugandan woman, Uganda's first wildlife veterinarian.
This summer I have been part of the team responding to the outbreak of anthrax in the hippos and buffalos in Queen Elizabeth National Park. More on that to follow as Jeff is powering off his computer for the week.
Check out their website if you want to learn more: www.ctph.org


marcie said...

Interesting!! Can't wait to hear more! Hugs to you Christine!!

Kathy said...

How great that you get to work on such incredible stuff. When I took microbiology for my nursing prerequisites, I thought about how great it would be to discover the cure to some dread disease. Glad you get a chance to work on pursuing your dream, even there in Uganda.