Tongai Chitsamatanga turned down working as a well-paid doctor in the UK to take a position healing sick and underprivileged children in Zimbabwe; he calls it “practical Christianity.” According to Christianity Today, the doctor feels his calling from God is to care for and bring aid to people who have little to no means of receiving adequate medical attention. Through the Christian nonprofit, CURE International, which provides “a global network of eight children’s hospitals providing world class surgical care and intentional spiritual care to children living with treatable disabilities,” Dr. Chitsamtanga has been performing miracles for children and their families.
Dr. Chitsamatanga’s work began fifteen years ago when he was assigned to work at the Mutambara Mission Hospital in the remote mountains of Zimbabwe. In 2006, he arrived at a mission hospital run by the United Methodist Church that had not had a doctor in it for four years. Though the hospital had medication that could help suffering patients, many of them could not reach the hospital. Dr. Chitsamatanga would travel with his team to outer regions bringing medical care and medications to those who were struggling. He recalls one experience in which he came across a woman being pushed up a dirt road in a wheelbarrow trying to make it to the hospital that was about an hour away, and he delivered her treatment right there.
CURE Zimbabwe was founded in April 2021 and is not just the first, but is the only hospital in a country of over 14 million people providing orthopedic care for children with disabilities including clubfoot, bowed legs, and knock knees. The hospital has thirteen beds, three operating theaters, an outpatient clinic, and just two pediatric orthopedic surgeons including Dr. Chitsamatanga and Dr. Rick Gardner. As a branch of CURE International, a Christian nonprofit based in Michigan that launched the hospital working with the government to treat children for free who are under the age of eighteen, they help patients regardless of their economic status and financial means. CURE Zimbabwe’s Executive Director Jonathan Simpson shared that their “organization is here because of Jesus’ calling to ‘heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God,’” adding that he knows the children there are safe and hopes they feel God’s love.
In embracing his position, Dr. Chitsamatanga knew the challenges were not limited. The children being treated at the hospital have medical conditions that have worsened over time with neglect and living in poverty. Qualified doctors and medical teams have fled the country due to poor pay and working conditions. Christianity Today reports, “more than 2,200, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists, left government service last year, according to the government’s Health Services Board. The figure is more than double that of 2020, and nearly triple that of 2019.”
Some may wonder why Dr. Chitsamatanga made the decision to stay in Zimbabwe when finances in the UK were more appealing; he says the decision was not a financial one, but one of faith. Dr. Chitsamatanga made the decision after much prayer which led him to follow the direction he felt God was pointing him in, and accepted his calling. Dr. Chitsamatanga’s commitment to helping the people and children of Zimbabwe is bringing tremendous blessings to families who can now find the hope, faith, and joy that will change their lives forever.