Chris Lavy gives us an update on the CURE Children's Hospital of Zimbabwe.
As we sit in cold drizzly weather here in Oxford wondering when we will be able to share a coffee in the place of our dreams, the wonderful NDORMS kitchen, and when this sad time of isolation will be over, I can announce a small ray of light, perhaps not for us but definitely for the children of Zimbabwe. But first the history….
A team of surgeons and anaesthetists from NDORMS and the NOC went over to Bulawayo Zimbabwe back in 2015. We were led by Professor Hemant Pandit and the team comprised Roger Gundle, Max Gibbons, Adrian Taylor, Chris Dodd, David Pigott, Grace Drury (nee Le) and myself. We joined a team of local surgeons and our task was to run Bulawayo’s first joint replacement course. We rented a room in the local Holiday Inn, and with the help of industry we set up a set of dry bones workshops and over the week took 20 local registrars through the skills tips and tricks of hip and knee replacement.
Near the hotel we saw an old isolation hospital that had sadly had a major fire and was now a ruin, used only as a useful toilet for those caught short when passing by.
The goodwill shown in that trip, coupled with behind the scenes fundraising has led to the rebuilding of the isolation hospital and its rebranding as an orthopaedic centre for children’s surgery and also in time for joint replacement. The rebuilding took years and was delayed by a change in politics and of course by Covid, but the hospital is now finished and as this blog goes out the newly appointed staff are undergoing orientation with the aim of opening in early February 2021. You can find out more on the CURE website.
All of the NDORMS and NOC staff who went on the first trip are keen to be part of a continued supportive and training team, working alongside our colleagues in Zimbabwe to make the country's first orthopaedic hospital a success. Watch this space as we will be sending another blog once the hospital opens to patients.