Sleeping Volcanoes - Emily Denstedt

Rwanda is home to the critically endangered mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei). Local Rwandan communities, as well as their livestock, live directly adjacent to Volcanoes National Park inhabited by the gorillas, and gorillas have been known to exit the park into these communities. The close proximity of humans to the mountain gorillas in Rwanda increases the risk of zoonotic pathogen transmission in both directions. To preserve the health of the mountain gorillas, the health of the people surrounding the park must be improved and maintained. A need for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in frontline healthcare workers was identified in Rwanda. In response to this, a public health intervention was implemented and evaluated, delivering CPD to nurses from village health centres surrounding the park. The aim of this project is to build capacity among Rwandan healthcare providers, thereby improving the health and quality of life of local people within villages adjacent to the gorilla habitat. In this photo, the sun sets in Musanze, the small town where our research was conducted. The volcanoes and national park can be seen in the distance, where mountain gorillas and other endangered species live.