Dr. Tanja Zabka Teaches Wildlife Pathology in UgandaBy Gorilla Doctors Staff on Monday, October 20th, 2014 in Blog.
Capacity building continues to be a primary objective of the Gorilla Doctors work and we are continually mentoring the next generation of wildlife health experts in Uganda, Rwanda, and the DRC. This year, Gorilla Doctors hosted a 6-month sabbatical for Roche Pharmaceuticals Veterinary Pathologist Dr. Tanja Zabka, to teach wildlife pathology to staff, students and colleagues at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Dr. Dale Smith, of the University of Guelph, Ontario, joined Dr. Zabka to help teach wildlife pathology for two months and helped provide a seamless transition when Dr. Zabka took over leadership of the program.
Dr. Zabka’s training involved multiple components: pathology training for field staff and identifying in-country post-mortem equipment supplies; central laboratory components, which included mentoring Ugandan pathologists and histotechnicians and partnering with JICA and Makerere University to enhance the histopathology laboratory functionality; research and education, which included input into the Wildlife Master’s curriculum, input into the proposal to Senate of Makerere University to enable clinical tracks for diagnostic pathology, and providing essential teaching materials for pathology. In addition, a sustainability plan put in place includes building a North American Pathology Network among pathology institutions to provide training and mentoring opportunities.
“Establishing a strong wildlife pathology program in the region is extremely important, both from a conservation standpoint and also from a public health standpoint” said Gorilla Doctors Director Dr. Mike Cranfield. “Drs. Zabka and Smith formed a powerful team while working in Uganda and made substantial progress towards the program’s development.”
With Drs. Zabka and Smith’s work, the foundation for a Wildlife Pathology Network has been laid, and even though the sabbatical has come to an end, Dr. Zabka continues to help move this project forward with assistance from Gorilla Doctors Capacity Development Coordinator Dr. John Bosco Nizeyi and our partners at the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Makerere University.