Case Synopsis

In Musanze, Rwanda, two NGOs, Gorilla Doctors and Docs4GreatApes, are working on the One Health Initiative to indirectly protect the endangered mountain gorillas. They aim to build capacity and strengthen the public health care of the people who live in close proximity to the gorillas’ habitat. By creating healthier human populations, there will be less risk of disease transmission, such as TB or parasites, to the gorillas, and the overall well-being and development of the area will be improved.

An unpublished study by Western University in 2010 identified areas in the public health system in Rwanda that health care professionals felt were lacking necessary knowledge and experience. The goal of the “VirungaOne” initiative is to develop and deliver continuing professional development (CPD) modules to train the nurses who work in the local health centres.

This case focuses on the issues Dr. Rick Quinn, the founding director of Docs4GreatApes, faced in discovering the most culturally appropriate and efficacious way to design and deliver the CPD training in a resource-poor setting. It centers around health promotion through education, while incorporating aspects of social determinants of health, environmental health, community health assessment and program evaluation, and aboriginal health.

Case Objectives

  1. Explore similarities and differences between a developed and developing country in regards to program development.
  2. Use different frameworks and models to analyze and design a CPD training program.
  3. Identify key factors in creating a successful initiative for health education.

Case Study Questions

  1. How could Dr. Quinn’s team gain the trust of the local nurses and the directors of the clinics and hospitals?
  2. How could he ensure that the modules were relevant and appropriate?
  3. What types of barriers or facilitators could you see in the implementation phases of the modules?
  4. What similarities and differences can you draw between this context and the Canadian context? Particularly in Northern or Indigenous communities?
  5. What do you think is the best way to design the modules and the training sessions for the nurses?
  6. How should the programs be monitored and evaluated in a culturally appropriate way?


One Health. program development. continuing professional development, education, promotion, capacity building

Additional Author Information

Elyse Burt, BSc, MPH

Emily Quinn, BSc (Assistant Investigator)

Rick Quinn, DVM, DVSc, Diplomate ACVO, Founding Director

Mike Cranfield, DVM, Co-Director and Chief Veterinarian, The Maryland Zoo

Shannon L. Sibbald, PhD, Assistant Professor



Recommended Citation

Burt, E., et al. (2017). Providing Continuing Professional Development in a Developing Country – The One Health Initiative. in: John-Baptiste, A. & McKinley, G. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2017. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.