Heart patients from Mashonaland West province and beyond last week received free specialist consultation from two Italian doctors led by cardiologist Roberto Bonmassari.
BY NUNURAI JENA
The service, which is being provided at Chinhoyi Hospital, is funded by the Italians and attracted patients from as far as Zambia as they took advantage of the free service to visit the cardio clinic. Such consultation services normally cost between $80-$100 at public institutions and a lot more at private hospitals.
Temba Musungo from Mutare has had a heart problem for the past five years. He said he could not raise enough money for consultation, let alone testing. He could not afford “such a luxury”.
“My heart has been giving me problems since 2012 and I have been turned away many times at clinics because I could not raise money for specialised heart testing,” said Musungo.
Although Musungo was told that his heart valves were not working properly and needed an operation, he said it was better that he now knows the problem, unlike previously when he had no idea what was causing the pain on the left side of his chest.
Another cardiac patient from Kariba, Elizabeth Chizinga, who was diagnosed as having too much water in the heart and was referred to Parirenyatwa hospital for treatment, said she was relieved now that she would finally get treatment.
“Now that I know the problem with my heart, I can go and get treated. That is if I manage to raise the required money; but at least it is better….these doctors helped me a lot,” said Chizinga.
Bonmassari said they were expecting to do medical check-ups of between 150-200 patients from Monday to Friday.
Sister-in-charge at the hospital, Prosper Sungwa, who went to Italy for an exchange programme, said 185 patients had been checked by Thursday and the number was expected to increase on the last day as more people got to know of the programme.
Bonmassari said most heart ailments were caused by hypertension and encouraged people to eat healthy food and exercise to reduce obesity.
In order to sustain the programme, Chinhoyi hospital sent a doctor and two nurses for an exchange programme and the move is paying off. A local doctor Trust Mhongovoya is now testing up to five cardiac patients daily.