Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE pain and grief of losing her 10-month-old baby to a heart disease has became her motivation to ensure that no other parent should ever go through the traumatic experience she underwent.
Ms Tendai Moyo (34), lost her child Rudorwashe Grace Moyo in 2018 and has set up a foundation that has partnered Mpilo Central Hospital to provide medication for children with heart diseases.
At birth in 2017, she noticed that her child’s heart was beating too fast and her tongue seemed dark, but health officials downplayed both, giving her false hope that she had given birth to a healthy 4,5kg baby.
As she had already given birth to two other children, she noticed that Rudo was not growing at a similar pace like her siblings and was also not gaining weight.
Ms Moyo says instead of nurses checking what could be wrong with her baby, they blamed her for not breastfeeding her properly.
At six months, a nurse at Maqhawe Clinic in Nkulumane suburb signalled that her child had cardiac problem symptoms, which marked the beginning of her real struggles.
She had to move out of her comfort zone as she had to be hands-on in looking after her child, even without medical aid.
For Ms Moyo, one of her most painful experiences was dealing with a private doctor who did not want to give her a referral letter to confirm her daughter’s illness, after she had managed to secure a donor to take her child to India for a heart surgery.
“Instead of giving me the referral letter, he would give excuses for not writing it while continuously telling me to come for reviews. I would go for these reviews maybe twice or thrice a month because of the delicate situation with my child. Mind you, we had to pay him for every visit that we made. He only wrote the referral letter after three months after realising that my daughter’s condition had worsened. He referred me to a doctor in one of the public hospitals (name supplied) but also the hospital nurses were negligent leading to my daughter’s death in January 2018,” said Ms Moyo.
She says her daughter’s death made her bitter as she knew that if interventions to save her had been made earlier maybe her child could be still alive.
Ms Moyo says she realised that bitterness could have destroyed her and that is not the only memory she wanted for her child. Three months after Rudo’s death she started healing and transformed a WhatsApp group which she used to drum up financial support for the treatment of her daughter to reach out to families who were in a similar predicament.
Ms Moyo moved further to immortalise the memory of her child and registered a foundation, Brave Little Hearts to support and also source funding for children with heart diseases.
Her organisation has since partnered with an American doctor who deals with heart diseases, and sourced medication that can last three months for 250 patients.
She has also partnered with Mpilo Central Hospital where the medication was taken to.
“The medication would provide relief for parents with children with heart diseases because every month they are spending at least US$20 buying medication for their children yet most of them are not employed. Also, the doctor is willing to capacitate local doctors in treating heart diseases. But this has to go via Government and we have submitted letters to Government stating the arrangement that we have made with this well-wisher,” she said.
“We have observed that it’s not enough to just complain about a situation but we can also contribute in our very small manner. Our wish is for Bulawayo to have cardiologists because at the moment we just have paediatricians. Even this Covid-19 lockdown has severely affected chronic patients with heart diseases as they cannot go out of the country to seek further medical treatment.”
Mpilo Central Hospital Acting Chief Executive, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya confirmed that the foundation had partnered the hospital in providing medication for children with heart diseases.
He said the medication was delivered to the hospital last week. — @nqotshili