Conservation Through Public Health

Bwindi National Park, Uganda

One of Population Connection’s first partners was Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH). Based in Uganda, CTPH is an award-winning leader in gorilla and wildlife conservation. The organization’s mission is to promote biodiversity conservation by enabling people, gorillas and other wildlife to coexist through improved health and livelihoods in and around Africa’s protected areas.

Wildlife veterinarian and CTPH founder and CEO Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka (also known as “Dr. Gladys”) started CTPH in 2003 to prevent the transmission of disease between people, livestock, and endangered mountain gorillas. CTPH also works to reduce people’s dependence on protected lands and the wildlife that reside there, improving their health and well-being in the process.

CTPH is a pioneer in the Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) development approach (also known as “One Health”), which recognizes the crucial relationships between people’s health and the environment. This community-based approach seeks to improve access to family planning and reproductive health care to help conserve wildlife and natural resources within communities living in areas with high biodiversity.

With support from Population Connection and other partners, CTPH monitors 27 mountain gorilla groups in Bwindi and Mgahinga Conservation Area, and delivers a community-led PHE model reaching over 40,000 people in 700 homes within six high human and gorilla conflict parishes around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

CTPH has four main goals:

1) Increase early detection of zoonotic disease outbreaks

2) Improve the health and well-being of communities surrounding gorilla habitats in Uganda and DRC

2) Enhance active community participation in conservation, and

4) Increase uptake of One Health approaches in environmentally important landscapes.

Activities include scientific monitoring of the health of mountain gorillas living near communities, distribution of family planning supplies and information on reproductive health, and training on infectious disease prevention and sustainable livelihoods, such as environmentally-friendly coffee farming.


Photo: Dr. Gladys at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, © Jo Anne McArthur

Meet Dr. Gladys

Picture of Dr. Gladys CTPH

Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, founder and CEO of CONSERVATION THROUGH PUBLIC HEALTH

Dr. Gladys is a wildlife veterinarian and conservationist. After graduating from the University of London, she established the first veterinary department in the Uganda Wildlife Authority. She led a team that investigated the first scabies outbreak in mountain gorillas, which was traced back to the people living around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This led her to establish the non-profit Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) in 2003, which promotes the coexistence of people, gorillas, and other wildlife through addressing human and wildlife health together and improving alternative livelihoods in communities sharing their habitats with gorillas.

Dr. Gladys has received several awards and accolades for her ground-breaking work. In 2023, she was recognized by the BBC as one of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world.

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