Rural health pioneer dies after car crash

2011-04-11 00:00

ZINHLE Kubheka, the rehabilitation and disability co-ordinator at Uthukela District health office, died after a car accident on March 25.

She was driving from Ladysmith to Pietermaritzburg when the accident happened. She died while in a coma.

Kubheka (31) was a pioneer in the formation of Khanya Africa in the Uthukela area in 2007.

Khanya Africa is a project which started in Uthungulu region in 2006 and had since spread to several provinces.

It is made up of doctors, nurses, therapists, radiographers and other health practitioners who volunteer their expertise to treat rural people.

They focus on areas with limited or no healthcare services.

Project leader Dr Bongani Nxumalo said Kubheka, a therapist, played a significant role in giving healthcare services to the rural poor.

“She was a very resourceful member who was able to identify problems during visits in rural dwellings.”

In one instance in Weenen in 2009 she identified a 11-year-old girl who had cleft palate, a birth defect that affects the upper lip and the roof of the mouth.

“Her parents were adamant that there was nothing wrong with the girl and she insisted that the girl be saved from her agony.

“Those are some of the cases we encounter in rural areas because our people are not educated,” said Nxumalo.

The speaker of the KZN Legislature, Neliswa Nkonyeni, described Kubheka as an assertive young professional who was dedicated to service. Nkonyeni was MEC for Health when Khanya Africa was formed.


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