Meet Dr. Mudaniso Kumani Ziwa from Zambia

March 12, 2019

Dr. Mudaniso Kumani Ziwa was finishing his residency in General Surgery in his home country of Zambia when he heard about Save a Child’s Heart and a life-changing decision was made: traveling to Israel to undergo an innovative second residency in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in Israel, under the tutelage of SACH’s own Dr. Sasson.

Dr. Ziwa completed a residency in General Surgery in his home country in 2017, but had the desire to continue studying pediatric cardiac surgery. Unfortunately, while a specialized government hospital dedicated for cardiac treatment is currently under construction, very few expert cardiac surgeons operate in Zambia, and just two or three of his colleagues are in training to become cardiac surgeons abroad.

A friend informed Dr. Ziwa about the work of Save a Child’s Heart, and the medical training program for post-graduate training in all facets of pediatric cardiac care, including cardiology, surgery, anesthesia, intensive care, perfusion and nursing.

Training programs vary from three months to five years and are all held under the auspices of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine and the Center for International Cooperation of the Foreign Ministry of Israel – MASHAV.

Upon hearing of SACH and its doctor training program, Dr. Ziwa headed straight to the internet where he learned that a SACH team would soon be in his home country, and he seized the opportunity to get to know Drs. Lior Sasson and Alona Raucher Sternfeld (SACH's chief pediatric cardiac surgeon and head of the pediatric cardiology unit at the Wolfson Medical Center, respectively). He applied to the program and was accepted in May of 2018 and is currently being trained to become a pediatric cardiac surgeon. Once he completes his training, Dr. Ziwa will return to Zambia to help establish a local center of excellence, providing children with heart defects the best possible treatment in their home country.

In addition to training Dr. Ziwa, Save a Child’s Heart is also planning a lifesaving mission to Zambia this coming April. The purpose of the mission will be to treat 14 pediatric cardiac patients, including one child who is currently living in Zanzibar.

Dr. Ziwa got his medical degree at the University of Zambia. Prior to coming to SACH to train as a pediatric cardiac surgeon, he was working as a general surgeon at the hospital in Lusaka, about 8 km away from his home. Dr. Ziwa speaks English as well as three local Zambian languages, and soon he will begin learning Hebrew as well. He has been married for the last five years, and misses his wife who is back in Zambia. Luckily, they speak a lot over Whatsapp video.

So far, Dr. Ziwa’s experience in Israel has been nice. He says that it is taking a lot of getting used to, and that it is difficult without knowing the language, but he has enjoyed visiting sites in Israel like Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. As a Seventh Day Adventist, Dr. Ziwa particularly enjoyed experiencing the historical Christian sites in Jerusalem, and hopes to see more of Israel during his time here.