Dr. Mudaniso Kumani Ziwa


Dr. Mudaniso Kumani Ziwa leerde Save a Child’s Heart kennen en hij maakte een ingrijpende keuze om enkele jaren naar Israel te vertrekken voor een aanvullende opleiding tot kinderhartchirurg.

Lees zijn verhaal

Dr. Mudaniso Kumani Ziwa heeft net zijn opleiding tot algemeen chirurg afgerond als hij hoort dat save a child's heart naar zijn universiteit en ziekenhuis komt voor een medische missie.  

1. Where and when were you born?

I was born in a small provincial town called Kasama in Zambia in 1983. Kasama is in the northern province of Zambia. 

2. What was your family life like?

My parents are teachers by profession and I am the first born. We are a big family - 9 children! While I was born in Kasama, I grew up mostly in Chipata because my father was transferred there to work in a secondary school as a science and mathematics teacher. Teachers are government employees whose positions are determined by the government and local needs. My mother is a primary school teacher, who teaches all subjects. We were encouraged to work hard at school. We walked to school each day, just about a ten minute’s walk from our home. My youngest sibling is 16 years old, we are 21 years apart. He’s currently in high school. I grew up going to church every week with my family, it was a tight-knit community - we all went to the same school and the same church. For secondary school I went to boarding school in a small town called Sinda at Chassa Boys Secondary School. Then for senior secondary school, I transferred to David Kaunda National Technical High School. After that, I attended the University of Zambia in Lusaka where I began studying medicine.

3. Why did you want to be a doctor?

My dream goes as far back as grade three when during class we’d learn about the different professions and I decided I wanted to be a doctor. From then on, I held on to that same dream: to help people who are suffering. My parents encouraged me. 

4. What experiences motivated you to pursue medicine?

I used to get sick with malaria once every three months or so when I was in primary school. So I remember trekking to the hospital 3-4 times in a year. My father would take me. I got to meet some clinicians through this which peaked my interest in the field.

5. What medical training have you received and where?

University of Zambia. Seven years in total: 2 years at the School of Natural Science, then from the 3-7th year you attend the medical school.

6. Why did you choose your specialty?

After medical school I went for an internship at Kitwe Central Hospital in the city of Kitwe, Copperbelt Province. And after that I took a rural post in a town called Siavonga. There I saw quite a number of surgical patients and I realized that my skills were inadequate to attend to them, so I was motivated to pursue a career in surgery. Following my rural service I returned to the University of Zambia’s Teaching Hospital and began my residency in general surgery. I found cardiac surgery interesting, especially with regard to the results - which are instantaneous - when you perform surgery on a cardiac patient. It’s something you can really appreciate. 

7. How did you find out about the medical training program of Save a Child's Heart?

I was told by a friend who was interested in doing cardiac surgery that there was an organization called Save a Child's Heart. Luckely, soon after Save a Child's Heart was coming to Zanbia and to the University Teaching Hospital for its first screening mission. I happened to have been among those to receive the Save a Child's Heart medical team, showing them around the hospital and I expressed my interest in training program that day. Following the mission, Save a Child's Heart signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that included a promise to both treat children and train doctors. At that time, I was the only surgeon who had finished general surgery with an interest in cardiac surgery at the hospital.  

8. What is the status of pediatric care and your specialty in your home country?

Zambia is a country of about 18 million people, with very few out pediatric cardiac surgeons. Options for training in the specialty remain mostly outside of the country. And options for care are limited to medical missions and treatment abroad at prohibitive costs. We currently have an adult cardiac surgeon who has begun doing some pediatric cases. Our center has three pediatric cardiologists who all completed their training abroad. The country has two more pediatric cardiologists in the Copperbelt province. 

9. What motivates you to train and return to your home country to practice medicine?

I love my country and I want to help my people. Because I see that there is a lot that we can do for our country. Our waiting list is long - consisting of congenital cases and acquired cases. Some of those are treated by visiting teams from Italy and Japan each year. I am really looking forward to go back to my home country and to be able to take care for these children. Also, I miss my wife and my family. And I miss Nshima, a very nice Zambian meal. Next time when I'm back in Zambia or when my family will visit me here at Save a Child's Heart, I will make sure I have the ingredients to cook it here.

10. What is your hope for the future?

My hope is that we can establish pediatric cardiac services and we should no longer have a waiting list for Zambian children. I hope to help out our neighboring countries as well. I hope that we can have a center of excellence, where our neighboring countries can come to seek care as well. And I hope we can make it the best center that we can.