Zim physiotherapist wins top global award
Peter Matika Bulawayo Bureau
A Zimbabwe pediatric physiotherapist, Mr Precious Madzimbe, has won an outstanding international award, making him the first Zimbabwean physical therapist to be recognised in the field.
The event was held from June 2 to 4 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Mr Madzimbe’s story dates back several years ago. He turned a hobby of playing and nursing orphans at his parent’s homestead into a full-time career. He was honoured with the award at the bi-annual World Physiotherapy Congress.
In a celebratory Facebook post, Mr Madzimbe, who operates a surgery in Bulawayo’s city centre, said he was highly honoured to have been invited and awarded an opportunity to speak to practitioners from across the globe.
“Yesterday, by God’s grace, I had the opportunity to address the whole world for the first time in my career at a world medical congress. We spoke at length and dissected paediatric physiotherapy and I spoke about the excellent work Bulawayo is doing in physiotherapy and rehabilitation of patients, which will soon overtake the so-called First World countries,” he said.
“I mentioned that Zimbabwe has exceptional talent in medical circles.
“I also participated in a research competition on the world stage, representing Zimbabwe. We are still waiting for final results, and I hope I will not let my country down.”
As a boy, Mr Madzimbe said he made a promise to himself to undertake a medical course that would make a huge impact in the humanitarian sector. “I have always loved people and loved spending time with them. In particular, I wanted to spend much time with children, especially those that suffered physical medical conditions,” he said.
Mr Madzimbe is in his 11th year of practicing as a professional paediatric practitioner. He has even penned a book that unpacks paediatric physiotherapy from an African perspective.
The book titled: “Paediatric Physiotherapy: Patient Assessment in the African Context,” has seen him travelling across the globe and meeting various medical practitioners from different parts of the world in an endeavour to discover new paths in healing or treating diseases.
Mr Madzimbe said the book encourages medical professionals to consider local settings and cultural norms when prescribing solutions for patients.
“Patient management is a broad subject with lots of family issues and psycho-social issues involved. Cultural beliefs and traditions are critical in the healing process of a patient,” he said.
Mr Madzimbe’s book is a result of three years of hard work involving extensive research and consultations.
“God has remembered Zimbabwe. Our cutting-edge research presentation paper gets the first position in the whole world in the paediatric category at the Dubai Congress.
“It is the greatest award globally in pediatric physiotherapy, arguably coming to Zimbabwe for the first time since independence,” he said.
“Those in soccer talk of the golden boot, golden glove and so forth. This is the ‘golden glove’ equivalent for a writing hand in paediatric. Zimbabwe is in the positive trajectory in medical research, science and innovation and is overtaking many countries.”
Mr Madzimbe said he will dedicate the award to the Zimbabwean front liners who succumbed to Covid-19 including the Bulawayo community.
He said he owed his success to his mother, Mrs Beauty Madzimbe.
“My mother used to care for orphans when I was young and this is where I developed an interest in my profession,” he said.
Mr Madzimbe said physiotherapy allows a practitioner to have the best relationship with his or her patients.
“As physiotherapy practitioners, we go beyond what the patient presents to us. For example, if one has neck or shoulder pain, we focus on that person’s social and work life as we investigate the source of the problem,” he said.
“Physiotherapists work in conjunction with other medical professionals at rehabilitation centres, hospitals as well as sports and fitness centres. The profession in most African countries is still unappreciated with some disorders being dismissed as the work of witchcraft.”
Mr Madzimbe said some children born with cerebral palsy or Down syndrome fail to get timely assistance from health professionals because relatives delay seeking assistance, choosing instead to attribute the condition to witchcraft.
“This is where you find many people consulting traditional doctors, who in most cases are not well versed with the particular disease,” he said.
Mr Madzimbe holds a post graduate diploma in paediatrics physiotherapy attained from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
After completing his studies, Mr Madzimbe started a writing book focusing on pediatric physiotherapy.