The Sunday Mail
The usually serene environs of Chitungwiza Central Hospital last Friday resembled the famous “Vietnam Bay” of Rufaro Stadium.
For years, the bay has housed delirious drum-beating, jiti-dancing and singing, as well as shackle-shaking Dynamos fans.
As the news filtered through that the hospital supremo, Dr Obadiah Moyo, was among those who had been appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in a lean, inter-generational and inter-racial dream Cabinet expected to turn around the country’s fortunes, the hospital staff burst into wild celebrations.
There were wild scenes of joy — hooting cars, ululating hospital staff members.
Some patients from the male surgical ward had to exchange their analgesics with some serious dancing for pain relief.
The atmosphere was filled with joy and appreciation.
They had every reason to celebrate — one of their own had made them proud.
“Today we are happy. We are celebrating because Dr Moyo has made us proud, the entire hospital is joyous. You can see for yourself,” said Ms Itai Marufu, a nurse at the hospital.
It was virtually difficult to negotiate a way through the crowd that had almost barricaded Dr Moyo’s office at the hospital, as hospital staff made a beeline to congratulate the then chief executive officer.
“I don’t know who to shake hands with now. I am just overwhelmed. Everyone is happy and this is going to be embedded in my memory for some time to come,” Dr Moyo said.
“I have been here for 13 years and this has been my home. All the people you are seeing here (in his office) have been with me since then and, obviously, bonds have been established.
“The hospital and the community have become my number one priority. It will take me some moons to forget their love,” he said.
Dental surgeon, Dr Lloyd Tafadzwa Dube, who had been working with the affable Dr Moyo since he arrived at the hospital in the summer of 2005, said they had lost a great administrator, but found comfort in that he is going to serve the entire nation.
“It has been a great honour working with Dr Moyo. We have been together for over a decade and it has been quite a journey in which he managed, together with his management staff, to transform Chitungwiza Hospital into a modern medical facility.
“He has mentored me in many aspects such that he was no longer my boss but my brother. I learnt a lot from him. I can pleasantly say he has shown me the light. He is a luminary,” Dr Dube said.
Mr Pisirayi Ndarukwa, a senior nursing tutor with the hospital’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, said they were happy the country’s leadership had noticed Dr Moyo’s visionary administrative policies.
“It is a humble reward of visionary administration that has been noticed by the President. Dr Moyo transformed this hospital from ‘Chipatara cheChitungwiza’ to the Central Hospital status we now enjoy.
“At the School of Nursing and Midwifery, he was always on hand to give advice and his input always carried the day, but I am happy the whole nation will now benefit from his wisdom,” he added.
A senior representative from the Chitungwiza Liaising Committee, a community committee which sits in the hospital’s monthly departmental meetings, said they would miss Dr Moyo, whose office was always open for members of the dormitory town’s community.
“His open door policy was next to none and we will obviously miss him. We could approach him with all sorts of problems and he would help within his capacity.
“Many people who could not afford to pay consultation fees were treated. I want to believe the majority of patients who benefited from his generosity bear testimony to that. I hope he will remain humble as he works on improving the country’s health sector,” said the representative who preferred anonymity.
During his tenure at Chitungwiza Hospital, Dr Moyo helped many people who would have failed to raise hospital bills.
The late sungura musician Cephas Mashakada headlines the list of public personalities who benefited. The endless list includes, among other late popular persons, Philani Dube, who used to play congas with Oliver Mtukudzi’s Black Spirits, soccer referee-cum-politician Tichaona Chapfika, journalist Richmore Tera and comedian Lawrence Simbarashe.
Dr Moyo oversaw the transformation of the hospital to meet modern standards, resulting in the health institution acquiring ISO-certification.
He ventured into partnerships with local and foreign partners, which saw a number of free operations ranging from cleft-lip palate surgeries to eye operations being carried out at the hospital.
During the infamous 2008 hyper-inflation era, Chitungwiza Central Hospital remained viable and carried the country through when other medical centres felt the pinch. As a way of fund-raising, Dr Moyo would organise musical galas with Chitungwiza-based musicians in a hard-to-replicate marriage that gave a sense of belonging to the usually neglected artists.
Gospel music granddad, Mechanic Manyeruke recalls the days with nostalgia: “Dr Moyo approached us with the idea and we quickly agreed to help the cause of the hospital and our community.
“The proceeds of the musical galas were channelled towards the upkeep and administration of the hospital. It was a marriage made in heaven and I want to wish him all the best in his new job.”
Sungura giant Alick Macheso echoed the same sentiments, adding that they will miss Dr Moyo’s love.
“The shows helped us to have a sense of belonging to the hospital and many artists were helped freely during that time. We will miss Dr Moyo and all he stood for at our beloved Chitungwiza Hospital,” added Macheso.