Preventing Disease Outbreaks: Lessons From Uganda

Curated Story
Gladys Kalema
This article originally appeared on Forbes

Conservationist, veterinarian, epidemiologist, and health worker in the villages near wild habitat, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is an advocate for the well-being of both people and animals. She is teaching Ugandans how to achieve wildlife conservation through public health and prevent disease outbreaks. We asked Gladys for insights into the current novel coronavirus pandemic and how we can prevent future outbreaks.

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Ashoka insight

Zoonotic disease is becoming more common, and the impacts are huge. There is a strong argument to invest in prevention.

I see three trends. Global travel will make things worse, and more epidemics will become pandemics. Next, climate change: temperatures rise, pathogens multiply and mutate faster. Third is population growth. We cut down trees, put up buildings, and move into wild habitat.

Solutions require a multi sectoral approach. Doctors, conservationists, and teachers are learning to collaborate. Overall, we have to abandon the idea that wildlife health is a luxury separate from human health. We need more animal inspectors, and to monitor wild animals better. Markets in some Asian countries openly trade in wildlife. People don’t know what is safe to eat. The WHO really needs to play a role in helping people understand food safety.