Makowe: Breaking new ground in medicine

Alistair Makowe

Alistair Makowe

Lovemore Meya Lifestyle Correspondent
It is universally accepted that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. And this is true for one Alistair Makowe. Born in 1990, the young man from Tynawald is set to make a mark in a field that for most of us is about as comprehensible as nuclear physics. Alistair came out tops in the South Africa-Association of Chiropractic Colleges.

For his pains he was accorded an award that includes a platform presentation on March 17-19 at Renaissance Hotel, Orlando in Florida, United States.

The theme of the presentation will be “Best Practices” and Alistair will be presenting on “the effectiveness of the Impulse iQ Adjusting Instrument compared to ischaemic compression in the treatment of upper trapezius myofascal trigger points in participants with non-specific neck pain”.

According to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges: “Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between the body’s main structures – the skeleton, the muscles, the nerves – and the patient’s health. Chiropractors believe that health can be improved and preserved by adjustments to these structures, particularly the spinal column.”

Alistair attended David Livingstone Primary School in the capital, from 1996 to 2002.

“In 2003 I went to Kutama College for Ordinary Level where I was enlisted in a science class and out of the nine subjects; I passed with five As, three Bs and a C,” he said.

“I attended Eaglesvale for my Advanced Level and did Mathematics, Biology and Physics but I did not pass much only to scoop three points and finished in 2009. I took a partial gap and started in June at UNISA in South Africa where I did Bio-Chemistry and Chemistry.”

He said after that, he applied to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges and was accepted.

“Around that time my mother got ill with back pain and had to go all around trying to fix it up but to no avail. She was taking so much medication and I started looking for medicines that could help the back pain without side effects.

“The medication was helpful but she started having side effects. If you take back pain tablets they can only go to a certain level mainly because they are of mechanical origin,” he said.

“While I was researching, I came across Chiropractic and I was not even familiar with it. I tried to look for qualified professionals here in Harare until I came up with one who was practising it in Milton Park.

“I got encouraged and from there I applied and after being offered the place I switched and started Chiropractic medicine in 2010,” said Alistair.

According to the scholar, in the medical field there are two types of streams or thoughts which are mainstream medicine that has been there for centuries and complementary or alternative medicine.

Alistair said Chiropractic falls into alternative medicine and it has similar principles as basic health sciences.

The field in South Africa is only offered at two universities and their combined intake is 90 students per year.

“When I applied there were over 700 applicants while they wanted 35 only, so we went through three screening tests. We had to write an essay on how Chiropractic is influential in our lives.

“Another was on how do I see myself fitting in the course and another interview with eight to 10 interviewers. After passing that we went through psychometric analysis where they gave us tests to calculate our IQs and reduce the number.

“Fortunately for me I made the cut and I was part of the 35 and put into the mainstream. It was fun and challenging due to the vast number of subjects we had to do per year.

“In my first year, I had 10 modules and all of them were annual subjects it was very demanding. About 65 percent of my classmates progressed to the second year but others had to repeat since the system would not allow us to carry over subjects,” he said.

During the course, he said the first two years were theory-based while the third year incorporated practicals.

“In the first and second years the only practicals we had were mortuary cadaver dissections.

“On the third and fourth years, I started practicals visiting hospital wards, going through patient cases and a bit of theory subjects on that aspect. Fifth year, everything else changed I started doing my internship programme that involves treating patients under supervision,” said the soft-spoken scientist.

He said after treating a number of patients the students were allowed to take off from there at Durban University of Technology where they had their own treatment rooms.

“In our fifth year, we embarked on research which was a master’s component. I decided to take one type of treatment which is called Ischaemic compression (a therapy technique used in physical therapy where blockage of blood in an area of the body is deliberately made).

However, his research focused on the muscles and influence of muscles on neck pain. “I took one of the conventional treatments already chosen to be efficient that is Ischaemic compression similar to a massage but it is more scientific than just giving someone a massage,” he said.

Alastair is a second-born in a family of four and lives with his parents, Edgar and Varely Makowe.

Being a Chiropractor, employment to him is not a problem after having been offered a place at Kensington.

“I was already offered it before I finished school. So from the Chiropractic point of view, opportunities to get a job are vast since it is a growing profession.

“Something good about my profession is, I can get something else to do, like now I have already set up a shop. I am only waiting for my transcript to be processed by the university,” he said.

Hailing from Nyanyadzi in Chipinge, he visits the place as and when time allows.

He enjoys Chinese, Indian and exotic dishes since he was exposed to them at college.

“Personally I would love to spend the greater part of my time giving my services to the needy and there is no greater joy than giving something to a hopeless person who thought they could not get rid of a problem.”

He is not an outgoing person and does not enjoy being idle, but gives a hand to his parents on their businesses.

“Since I came back home in September last year, I have been helping my parents a lot in running their business.

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