‘I give medical care to wild animals’

Friday November 08 2019

VETerinary doctor. Dr Racheal Mbabazi is a veterinarian at Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC). She oversees the health care of over 240 animals through scientifically justified practices. She shares with Eric Ntalumbwa how she spends her week.

I rise up at 5am to do my morning devotion and prayer. By 6am, I am on the road to work and I arrive at my workstation in Entebbe by 8am. I attend the routine meetings at 8:30am to receive official communication and get updates by animal keepers about the different medical needs of animals that require my attention. Sometimes, I stroll around to validate what the animal keepers are saying. As a medical personnel, I am able to detect signs and symptoms of sick animals. My health inspections often takes a whole day. But at times, it takes a short time. I attend meetings and compile daily and weekly health reports.

Besides the morning routine and early morning meetings, I deal with any urgent problems that may arise such as checking animals for parasites, conducting full health screening, taking blood samples, doing x-rays, and checking animal teeth.

I establish and conduct effective quarantine and testing procedures for all incoming animals to ensure health collection, prevent spread of disease, and comply with government regulations. Quarantine is done to separate infected animals from healthy ones, to prevent the spread of infections to animals new to the zoo.
I take part in planning and executing nutritional programmes for animals at the zoo. Later, I convene meetings with animal keepers. Thursday is my day out. I usually leave work at 5pm to catch up with friends.

After routine check-ups, I provide medical care to animals such as dressing wounds and performing emergency surgery. I also review my detailed records for each animal at the centre, tracking their long term health. I dedicate Friday evenings to family, which is my great pillar of strength.

I dedicated this day for extra-curricular activities. Although I am on call incase my colleague is absent or there is an emergency, I spend the day swimming, playing the guitar and attending dance classes for ballroom and Latin dance.


I wake up, do general cleaning and organise stuff around the house. I head to church and later in the afternoon, I reflect on tasks for the coming week and write a to-do list for all targets to achieve the next week.