Myelodysplastic Syndrome Takes Moses

He was suffering from the rare myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and fell victim to acute leukumia.

The former executive director of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Moses Mapesa passed away on the morning of March 28th 2016.

elephant-1240011_640Mapesa was a renowned conservationist. He joined the UWA in 1988 as a researcher, eventually becoming the Executive Director until 2010 where he worked to regulate wildlife conservation in Kampala, Uganda- relished as the Pearl of Africa by journalists, photographers, tourists and wildlife conservationists alike. Mapesa assumed responsibility for the management of 10 National Parks, 12 Wildlife Reserves, 14 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 5 Community Wildlife Areas.

For the majority of his life, Mapesa embodied the UWA’s mission “to conserve, economically develop and sustainably manage the wildlife and protected areas of Uganda in partnership with neighboring communities and other stakeholders for the benefit of the people of Uganda and the global community.”elephant-1229572_1280

Mapesa spearheaded the creation of cross border networks for migratory animals and built strong partnerships with the Uganda People’s Defence Forces to ensure the safety and protection of wildlife during periods of country conflict. He also worked to secure national African parks, most famously Queen Elizabeth National Park back in the 90’s.

Mapesa became an independent consultant for a stint and was appointed the regional vice-chair for the IUCN Commission on Protected Areas (World Commission on Protected Areas) for Eastern and Southern Africa. Mapesa was a founding member of the Leadership Conservation Africa Forum.His drive and passion commissioned him global accolades such as receiving the World Conservation Union honor for leadership skills.

In 2007, Mapesa was diagnosed with MDS and has been managing his MDS with blood transfusions- but weekly transfusions had simply gotten to be too much.

blood-75302_1280In 2015, Mapesa’s family and supporters began fundraising for a bone marrow transplant, “Operation Save Moses Mapesa which if successful would enable his body to produce his own red and white blood cells and blood platelets.

While MDS is rare, without a cure and has no definitive cause, it can be managed for a period of time. New Vision Uganda News reported last year that there were more than 10 myelodysplastic syndrome patients being treated at the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala- which offers a free cancer screening program every Friday at 7:30AM.

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