A Doctor with a heart of Gold

GUARDIAN angels come in many forms and for Nyasha Chripasi (17) from Saziya village who was born with a disability, her prayers were answered the day she met Dr Tapiwa Nyamangodo, the Clinical Supervisor for the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP) working the World Health Organisation in Chimanimani.

By Michael Gwarisa

Dr Nayamangodo has been leading a team of health and medical experts who were working under the ZIRP integrated health project where an array of services were being offered to Cyclone Idai survivors in Chimanimani district in Manicaland. Under the project Dr Nyamangodo and team have been hosting health outreach programs where they would bring integrated health services to the doorstep of Cyclone Idai survivors. Community members were also welcome to receive services free of charge.

Dr Tapiwa Nyamangodo, the Clinical Supervisor for the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP) working the World Health Organisation in Chimanimani

However, in one of Dr Nyamangodo’s outreaches to Saziya clinic along the newly refurbished Jopa/Kopa highway, he saw Nyasha’s mother carrying her teenage child on her back looking desperate for help. Upon inquiry, he discovered that the young girl had Cerebral Palsy (CP) and needed assistance with a wheelchair.

On the outreach day, we went to Saziya clinic and there was a big crowd of people who were expecting to receive services from us. Among these, was a patient who was brought by her mother. The mother was quite expectant.

“Because we mobilise communities that we offer services to. When she heard that there was a doctor coming over, she brought her child who was 15 then. Nyasha has cerebral palsy but on the day, I did not have anything to offer because she was just being herself with her disability but the mother just thought this Doctor would make a difference. I was told she couldn’t speak, eat, walk and could not take care of herself basically and the mother was expectant that there would be a difference on the day” said Dr Nyamangodo.

He explained the condition to the mother before making a pledge to get her child a wheelchair. He went around soliciting for help from his friends and one of his friends solicited further until someone offered and delivered a wheelchair.

“I spoke to one friend of mine, Raymond who is a golfer who then talked to his peers and one of them offered a wheelchair. He took delivery of the wheelchair and gave it to my wife who works in Harare and I then presented the wheelchair to Nyasha in Saziya.”

Before Dr Nyamangodo sourced a wheelchair for Nyasha and because her parents could not afford one, Nyasha would spend much of her time in a washing dish and wrapped around some cloths to support her. According to her parents, Nyasha’s story has since changed and they can now do various chores without even worrying.

Nyasha’s parents, Mr Steven Chiripasi and his wife Mrs Viola Matongera

Nyasha’s mother, Mrs Viola Matongera said, “We just want to thank Dr Nyamangodo and his friends who helped us get a Wheelchair for Nyasha. Now we are happy that we can even go to town with her and move around, unlike in the past when it was difficult. I was helped with a wheelchair and I can say things have changed for us now, I no longer need to put her in a dish. She can now spend much of her time seated,” said Nyasha’s mother.

Mr Steven Chiripasi, Nyasha’s father said he was grateful for the kind gesture and 
they can now move and travel around with Nyasha without having any challenges.

“When this child was born in 2004 at Mutare General Hospital, we never saw that our child had a problem. However, as time went on, by then we were staying in Rusape, we started seeing that the other leg was not developing in a normal way and it got us concerned. We took her to the hospital but nothing worked.

“In 2005, we relocated to Chimanimani and that’s when it worsened. Her body looked weak and we could carry her on our backs. That’s when we discovered that our child had Cerebral palsy. We struggled to even get a wheelchair from her. After the Cyclone Idai had devastated this area, we just heard that a doctor was coming to offer services at Saziya Clinic, that’s where my wife met Dr Nyamangondo who pledged to assist in helping us get a wheelchair for Nyasha,” said Mr Chiripasi.

Meanwhile, apart from helping Nyasha, Dr Nyamangodo has also assisted a girl with albinism to procure sun screens and spectacles using money from his own pocket. With support, Dr Nyamangodo wishes to continue offering assistance to young person with disabilities in Chimanimani district where he says there is high prevalence of Cerebral palsy due to a myriad of factors chief among them being a poor health seeking behavior by women during pregnancy.



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