FEEL GOOD | SA healthcare workers rally to bring Zim boy mauled by hyena to SA for reconstructive surgery

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A nine-year-old boy was mauled in the face by a hyena.
A nine-year-old boy was mauled in the face by a hyena.
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  • Rodwell Nkomazana, 9, was mauled in the face by a hyena while asleep at an all-night church gathering outside Harare, Zimbabwe, last month.
  • Several SA doctors have offered to treat the boy pro-bono, however, R1 million is still needed to cover an escorted medical evacuation from Zimbabwe, reconstructive surgery, post-operative treatment, and aftercare treatment.
  • A team of healthcare workers are set to provisionally fly to Harare on Saturday to bring the boy back to Mediclinic Sandton for surgery. 

South African medical practitioners have rallied together to help put a smile back on the face of a Zimbabwean schoolboy who was mauled in the face by a hyena, resulting in him losing an eye. 

Trauma nurse Maqshuda Kajee has been at the helm of fundraising to get nine-year-old Rodwell Nkomazana and his mother to South Africa for much-needed facial reconstruction surgery. He was attacked by a hyena while asleep at an all-night church gathering outside Harare, Zimbabwe, on 7 May.  

Nkomazana's nurse in Zimbabwe, Sister Chaku and Sister Liz Willson in Johannesburg, South Africa, initially shared this story with Kajee, who approached her network of doctors who offered to perform the surgery pro-bono.

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Nkomazana's team of doctors include renowned plastic surgeon Dr Ridwan Mia, head and neck surgeon Dr Razvi Ahmed, anaesthetist Dr Hizir Mukaddam, maxillofacial surgeon Dr Jameel Desai, paediatrician Dr Kim Barnard, and medical evacuation expert Dr Sayuren Moonsamy.  

Mia, a recipient of the National Order of the Baobab, said that Nkomazana needed a lot of reconstruction of the central part of his face and a prosthetic left eye. He said:

Rodwell will require reconstruction of the entire nose, most of the upper lip and about 10% of the lower lip. And also the orbit that houses the left eye because, unfortunately, he lost his left eye. It is anticipated that he will require a lot of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychological treatment for mom and for Rodwell.

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Mai said the surgery would take up to 15 -20 hours and would require several operations.

Although doctors have offered their services pro-bono, Nkomazana will still need about R1 million to pay for an escorted medical evacuation from Zimbabwe, reconstructive surgery to his face, post-operative treatment, and aftercare treatment once he is discharged.  

Kajee told News24 that they had raised just over R3 000 so far and urged people to donate to the following banking details:

Donation details
ACC. NAME: MEALSA
FNB: 6284 989 7197
BR. CODE: 250655
REFERENCE: FACE

Once funds are secured, Kajee and Dr Moonsamy will fly to Harare to fetch Nkomazana and his mother. Due to the cost of an air ambulance, the team will be flying back on a commercial flight that has been provisionally booked for Saturday. 

"The plan is to fly with basic medical equipment as well as basic vital monitoring tools so that we can keep track of Rodwell's vital signs as we fly.

"Upon arrival in Harare, we will receive Rodwell. We will ensure that he is fit to fly and make sure that his wounds are appropriately dressed so that he doesn't draw too much attention to himself or distress other passengers, on the flight because it will be a commercial flight," said Moonsamy. 

Once in South Africa, Nkomazana's will be operated on at Mediclinic Sandton. The doctors said that they were still meeting various organisations that can assist Nkomazana.  

Meanwhile, Kajee said that Nkomazana's mother was anxious, but looking forward to her son getting the help he needs.

He said that Nkomazana was in a stable condition at Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and was even able to write. 

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