One HealthEmployee Health Program

To reduce the risk of disease transmission between people and gorillas, Gorilla Doctors facilitates annual health screenings and follow-up care for those who come in contact with the gorillas the most—the people who work in the national parks. Each year, hundreds of rangers, trackers, researchers, and others who work in the parks participate in our Employee Health Program. We currently offer this program for people working in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda; Virunga and Kahuzi-Biega National Parks in DRC; and for the staff of the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation working in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Thanks to the EHP, many of these conservation employees have access to care that would otherwise be too expensive or too difficult to arrange individually. Gorilla Doctors’ EHP Manager, Jean Paul Lukusa administers this program in conjunction with local hospitals, which provide the necessary facilities and medical staff.

Through this program, conservation employees

  • Undergo annual physical exams including screening for intestinal parasites and diseases like TB and HIV;
  • Are immunized for deadly diseases such the measles and polio as needed;
  • Receive treatment or referrals for additional care if they are sick;
  • Link to government programs that provide antiretroviral drugs if they are HIV positive;
  • Get fitted with eyeglasses if they have vision problems;
  • Participate in health education programs; and
  • Bring their spouses and children to receive treatment for intestinal parasites and counseling about hygiene, family planning, and HIV prevention on a quarterly basis.

Nearly 300 national park workers participate in the full health screening program and more than 2,000 family members are able to take advantage our de-worming and health education programs. All of the funding for the EHP is provided by the Houston Zoo and the Arcus Foundation.