International Conference on
Veterinary Science

August 28-30, 2023 | Online Event
VET 2023

Mark Okot

Mark Okot, Speaker at Veterinary Conference
Conservation Through Public Health, Uganda
Title : Biodiversity conservation and one health


Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), a 20-year-old award-winning NGO, promotes biodiversity conservation by enabling people, gorillas and other wildlife to coexist through improving their health and livelihoods in and around Africa’s protected areas. CTPH has three integrated strategies: wildlife conservation, community health, and alternative livelihoods.
Wildlife conservation with a focus on gorilla health monitoring includes observation of clinical signs and monthly collection of gorilla fecal samples and when they are abnormal, which are analyzed for intestinal helminths. Interventions like deworming of humans and livestock are carried out where their parasite infection is high and spilling over to gorillas. Gorillas with severe clinical signs due to parasite infections are dewormed. Research on bacterial, viral, and protozoal diseases is also carried out at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) and other protected areas in Uganda to optimize the health of wildlife, livestock, and people. 
Community Health has a focus on One Health engaging and empowering community volunteers called, Village Health and  Conservation Teams, to conduct behavior change communication on integrated  health and conservation  activities including hygiene and sanitation promotion  of hygiene and sanitation, family planning and infectious disease prevention and control as well as reporting diseases in a timely manner. 
CTPH through its social enterprise Gorilla Conservation Coffee, supports smallholder coffee farmers around BINP and other gorilla habitats to grow coffee, which is bought from them at a premium price. This helps to alleviate poverty and reduce reliance on the forest for food and fuelwood reducing threats to endangered gorillas and their habitats. CTPH also supports local communities by providing them with “Ready to Grow” seedlings. Gorilla Guardians, Community Animal Health Workers and Village Health and Conservation Teams are supported with group livestock income generating projects, which they reinvest into Village Saving and Loan Associations to motivate them as community volunteers. 
CTPH being a pioneer in this One Health approach to conservation has played a tremendous role in conserving the endangered mountain gorillas and their habitat. The mountain gorilla is the only gorilla subspecies showing a positive trend in population growth from 650 in 1997 to 1063 in 2018 and was reclassified by IUCN from critically endangered to endangered. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is also an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and a UNESCO World Heritable Site. Therefore, this approach has proven to be an effective strategy in promoting biodiversity conservation.


Dr. Mark Okot is a distinguished veterinarian working at Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), an award-winning NGO that promotes biodiversity conservation by enabling people, gorillas and other wildlife to coexist through improving their health and livelihoods in and around Africa’s protected areas. Dr. Mark graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine from Makerere University in 2019 and in 2023, obtained a MSc. in Public Health from the University of South Wales. He is also a Project Management Professional (PMP) licensed by the Project Management Institute, Pennsylvania, USA. Dr. Mark is passionate about One Health and has four years relevant working experience. He has been involved in a number of projects during this time and served in various capacities, for example; Project Manager and Consultant. His upcoming presentation highlights the intersection of veterinary work and public health in biodiversity conservation.