Accessibility links

Breaking News

Zimbabweans Living in South Africa Tell VP Chiwenga to Go Back Home for Medical Care

FILE - Retired President Emmerson Mnangagwa (S. Mhofu/VOA)
FILE - Retired President Emmerson Mnangagwa (S. Mhofu/VOA)

Some Zimbabweans on Monday staged peaceful protests outside Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, where Vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga is said to be receiving treatment for an unknown ailment.

The protesters demanded that Chiwenga should go back to Zimbabwe to receive treatment in one of the hospitals that have been allegedly run down by the ruling Zanu PF party, which has been in power since the nation attained independence from British rule in 1980.

One of the organizers of the protest, Tinashe Chifamba, said Chiwenga should leave for Zimbabwe to receive treatment.

“He has been part of the political system that has destroyed our hospitals. Why should he come here to get treatment when he is running a country together with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and they believe they are doing the right thing. He should go back and taste his own medicine. Our hospitals are simply run down.”

Another protester, Nomore Bhero, said Zimbabweans are unhappy about the vice president’s admission in a South African hospital where he is seeking medical care while millions of people back home don’t have access to medical services due to high costs and derelict equipment.

“Why is he here. He must go back home. We don’t want him here. He has also been terrorizing our doctors and nurses who were on strike demanding better working conditions and salaries in United States dollars.”

According the United States Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health), human allogeneic heart transplantation was started at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town in 1967.

“Since then 110 hearts (61 heterotopic and 49 orthotopic) and 12 heart-lung transplantations have been performed in the unit. Ten procedures were retransplantations including two third interventions … The results have improved significantly over the years. The actuarial survival rate after heart transplantation within the last 12 months is 94%. Several important steps have been inaugurated: in 1973 heterotopic heart transplantation was initiated and in 1984 hormonal therapy of brain-dead organ donors was started. Radionuclide scanning, in combination with endomyocardial biopsies, has proved to be a very sensitive means of monitoring rejection.”

Dr. Christiaan Neethling Barnard led a team at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967 which conducted the first human heart transplant.