Women Making Waves in the field of Medicine in Zimbabwe

The field of medicine is a broad and vast one. Many a times when one speaks of medicine a few things come to mind, that is injections, tablets and worst of all surgeries. Most important to note is that there is more to medicine than injections (yes those needles are scary) and operations. Doctors deal with a wide range of medical conditions and dedicate years of hard work to provide quality healthcare. In this case it can be difficult for women as they have to deal with breaking societal norms and dedicating time to their studies and medical career which can be very demanding. This article highlights the remarkable achievements of women who are making waves and leaving a lasting impact on the medical landscape of Zimbabwe.

Dr Kudzayi Kanyepi

Is the only female cardiothoracic surgeon in Zimbabwe. She has managed to make her way as she provides the best care she can give at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Zimbabwe and spent six years training to be a cardiothoracic surgeon in Durban, South Africa. A Cardiothoracic surgeon specializes operating the heart, lungs and treating other chest organs. This proves that with hard work and dedication anything is possible and as the saying goes what a man can do, a woman can do better.

Dr Kudzai Kanhutu

Dr Kudzai Kanhutu is another force to be reckoned with when it comes to the field of medicine. She has made a tremendous impact in the field oh health as she graduated in one of Australia’s leading hospitals, The Royal Melbourne Hospital. She is an infectious disease physician with a background in French. In her role as deputy chief medical information officer, Kanhutu was at the vanguard of the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s digital transformation programme, with her work in digital healthcare cited in several peer-reviewed medical journals. She was also enlisted to assist in the development of a virtual hospital to deliver hospital homebased care to patients who couldn’t make it to the hospital. Dr Kudzai grew up in a large family in Harare before moving to Australia at the age of five. This in any sense did not make her journey in the medical field easy but she had resolved to become a doctor at the age of 4 and it is safe to say she exceeded those expectations and became more than a doctor. She is an icon and an inspiration who proves that with hard work and dedication anything is possible. She has won accolades and continues to make an impact in the field of health.

Dr Tracern Mugodo

When reading her interview the first thing one notices is that when she greets patients they ask her when the real doctor would be coming. At only 34 years she is Zimbabwe’s first female Orthopedic Surgeon. Orthopedic surgeons specialize in surgery of bones, joints and muscles. She has faced many challenges as a woman in a STEM field and one of these is that her staff members are reluctant to take orders from a female doctor and more often her junior male counterparts are addressed as her seniors. The whole point of this is that since long back women have been expected to take on more simpler and less challenging jobs. The STEM field is one most parents do not encourage their girl children to take for fear that they may fail and that time for marriage would pass them by whilst they are still pursuing their careers.

Dr Privilage Makanda-Charumbira

She is Zimbabwe’s first pediatric nephrologist and a winner of the ICN Fellowship awards. Meet Dr Privilage Makanda -Charumbira who has managed to make a name for herself in the field of medicine. A pediatric nephrologist is a clinician who deals with the diagnosis, investigation and management of chronic and acute kidney disease, including provision of dialysis and renal transplantation. Wow right? Dr Privilage is not only raising the Zimbabwean flag high but she is also a beacon of hope to little ones suffering from kidney diseases.

Final thoughts

These women serve as a beacon of inspiration, reminding one that success is not handed to us on a silver platter—it comes through hard work and determination. As Nelson Mandela once wisely said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Their stories demonstrate that even seemingly impossible challenges can be overcome. Whether it’s becoming a pediatric nephrologist, orthopedic surgeon, infectious disease physician, or cardiothoracic surgeon, these women prove that no dream is too big. Their accomplishments transcend borders and defy gender stereotypes. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Zimbabwe or if you’re a woman—what truly matters is having a dream and a goal. If these women can achieve their aspirations, so can you.

Therefore, to the young girl or woman out there the sky is not the limit but what’s beyond might be if you work hard enough. Ask for help, study hard and seek advise from those who have made it. One day you could also be dominating and changing narratives in what is considered to be impossible and hard.

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Tea in 60 is a community that seeks to bring about the much needed practical one-on-one conversations between girls interested in STEM and women already in the field. In one hour, girls in high school, as well as those that are in or have just finished tertiary education will have an opportunity to discuss anything they want in the career of their choosing with a selected mentor.