PASA One Health Initiative

Our friends and partners at PASA and Arcus, with assisstance from the University of Minnesota are creating a one health initiative that ther are hoping the OVAG programme will dovetail with. Subsaharan African organisationas are tackling the same One Health issues OVAG is. We are working closely with the the PASA team to minimise duplicity of effort.

Pan African Sanctuary Alliance One Health Initiative

Goal: The goal of the Initiative is to create and implement a professional, sustainable health education program for veterinary and paraprofessional personnel at PASA member sanctuaries, and develop best practices for disease risk management, biosafety and occupational safety training.

Statement of Need: One of the biggest threats facing nonhuman primates is emerging zoonotic diseases arising from close interaction with humans or human mediated environments. Of critical importance is ensuring that the welfare of nonhuman primates in African sanctuaries is not compromised and reintroduced individuals do not pose a disease risk to wild populations. The 23 PASA-accredited sanctuaries in 13 countries have experienced inconsistent primate health and a high turnover of veterinary personnel with a concurrent increase in animal accessions. This combination has created challenges in providing a consistently high standard of husbandry and veterinary care in these facilities. This, coupled with a generally low capacity for preventative healthcare, biosecurity, and occupational health, and a lack of reliable diagnostics for emerging zoonotic diseases, puts at risk the over 3,000 primates resident in these sanctuaries as well as their caregivers. The bushmeat crisis, the illegal wildlife trade, and habitat degradation are increasing rapidly. Humanity’s closest relatives are nearer to extinction than ever before. The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance One Health Initiative is urgently needed to build the capacity of the organizations on the frontlines of the movement to protect African primates.


Our Solution: With core support from the Arcus Foundation, in 2019, a coalition of researchers, educators, and specialists in primate health will launch a long-term, multifaceted veterinary education program to develop the capacity for veterinary medicine and research at primate sanctuaries throughout Africa.  Our partnership, consisting of PASA, universities from multiple continents, and numerous non-governmental conservation and health organizations, will launch this effort by conducting a needs assessment followed by an inception Veterinary Capacity Building Workshop in 2019. The goals of the needs assessment are to characterize long term priority training needs and preferred method of delivery for a “train‑the‑trainer” program for sanctuary veterinarians and health personnel encompassing primate medicine, occupational health and evidence-based medicine. Concurrently we will develop a professional long-term training platform for both experts and paraprofessionals that is supported across a number of delivery methods to address the needs and capacity of stakeholders. 


The inception Veterinary Capacity Building Workshop will be held in March 2019, in Yaounde, Cameroon. The goals of the workshop include:

●      Assess current capacity of PASA personnel and high priority training needs for member sanctuaries

●      Evaluate the efficacy of formation of a strategic initiative combining multiple nonhuman primate working groups in protocol development, disease diagnostics and management

●      Deliver a tuberculosis diagnostic training module towards alignment of testing protocols across PASA sanctuaries

●      Deliver a training module in the principles of evidence-based medicine as the philosophical underpinning of this initiative

●      Begin the development of a community of practice to empower collaborative learning between sanctuary personnel and researchers worldwide toward further professionalization of animal health management (while cultivating a stronger global primate veterinary community).

●      Improve communication skills of participants to encourage coordination with academia and field research

●      Improve animal health links and understanding between welfare-focused medicine within sanctuaries and conservation medicine in wild populations


This inception Veterinary Capacity Building Workshop will be followed by a large workshop and train-the-trainer training already funded by the Arcus Foundation in 2021 and hosted in Kenya by the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary. This will be aimed at creating a long-term training program and platform for evidence-based disease management at sanctuaries, as well as capacity building of veterinary and affiliated health personnel.

The projected budget of the March 2019 workshop is US$65,000, which will fully cover the costs of 23 sanctuary veterinarians to participate. As the sanctuaries generally lack budgets for international travel, financial support is critical to make the workshop possible.

Evaluation: We will evaluate the program using pre- and post-training didactic testing and analysis of participant reporting on the value of the capacity building being provided. We will also highlight barriers to progress and discover participants’ perception of control by requiring workshop participants to complete questionnaires. This will provide quantitative and qualitative data to hone future components of the program.

Leadership: To achieve the objectives of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance One Health Initiative, PASA has assembled a core committee to guide the development and implementation of the program. The committee consists of:

•  Thalita Calvi, Veterinarian of Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage

•  Mike Cranfield, Director of Gorilla Doctors and Veterinarian at UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center

•  Luis Flores Giron, Veterinary Advisor of Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Center

•  George Omondi Paul, researcher at the University of Minnesota and former Head Veterinarian at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary

•  Joshua Rukundo, Operations/Conservation Programs Director and senior veterinarian at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

•  Dominic Travis, Associate Professor of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

•  Gregg Tully, Executive Director of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance

•  Steve Unwin, Lecturer at University of Liverpool, OVAG program lead, wildlife health consultant for Wildlife Impact, and former Veterinary Officer at Chester Zoo