Falala was a rare breed of medical practitioners

SHE was a rare breed of medical doctors who lived by the Physician’s Oath, which demands that medical practitioners must always put their health, families and most importantly their own lives at risk for the sake of saving lives.

Dr Muriel Selma Falala is truly our heroine. She passed away on Wednesday the 3rd of November 2021 in a car accident while rushing to deliver a patient. She put the health of her patients first.

She was 69.

Dr Falala will be remembered for her work in Family Medicine and for pioneering a postgraduate programme in the Faculty of Medicine.

She was the Co-ordinator of the Masters in Family Medicine programme under the Department of Community Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine.

She joined NUST in 2016 as a Part-time Lecturer in the Department of Community Medicine.

She was later appointed as a Temporary Full-time Lecturer in the same Department on the 10th of November 2017 up to December 2018.

Upon her retirement in 2018, she was appointed as a Temporary Full-time Lecturer in the same Department on a Post-Retirement Contract, which was being renewed annually, a position that she held up to the time of her death.

The University has lost an experienced medical doctor, academic and administrator.

“She has been a pillar of Family Medicine at the University and Faculty. She pioneered a postgraduate degree programme in Family Medicine. It is really a great loss to the Faculty and the entire medical field,” said the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof Elopy Sibanda.

He added that Dr Falala was a key doctor in Bulawayo.

The Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr Wedu Ndebele said the death of Dr Falala is a big blow to the medical fraternity.

“She was a very senior colleague having worked in Bulawayo for the rest of her life. She was among the first Specialist Family Physicians and was instrumental in setting up the training of Family Medicine at NUST,” said Dr Ndebele.

He said Dr Falala was a very active member of the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA).

Her colleagues and fellow medical practitioners described her death as a huge loss to the health sector.

A Professor in the NUST Faculty of Medicine, who is also the Acting Chief Executive Officer for Mpilo Hospital, Prof Solwayo Ngwenya was at a loss of words.

“For me it’s a personal loss, I’ve known Dr Falala for a very long time. This afternoon at 1.30pm we were together at the Royal Clinic. She had come there to see a patient and we were talking medicine and all that, little did I know that she was coming to say goodbye. I am devastated,” Prof Ngwenya reacted in Chronicle.

He described Dr Falala as someone who had done so much for the community, the people of Bulawayo and the nation at large.

“She worked tirelessly over the years to provide emergency services and deliver so many babies safely. She was still young and strong, this is a sad day for me,” said Prof Ngwenya.

ZIMA president, Dr Francis Chiwora said Dr Falala was a dedicated cadre who did not just treat patients but imparted knowledge to up-coming doctors.

“We are shocked to hear about her passing on. We have lost a dedicated cadre to our profession. She was a general practitioner, a family practitioner based at Gallen House,” said Dr Chiwora.

Dr Falala studied medicine at the Medical School in Moscow, Russia between 1976 and 1981.

In 2014, she obtained a Master of Medicine, specialising in Family Medicine, from Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

She also obtained certificates in Advanced Trauma Life Support and Training of Clinical Trainers.

From 1982 to 1989 she worked for Mpilo Hospital where she also served as an Obstetrics and Gynaecologist.

From 1989 to 1992, she served as a Medical Officer Southern Region for the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council.

Dr Falala was a General Practitioner for Dr Ferguson and Partners at the Gallen House Emergency Medical Clinic from 1992 to 2014.

Since 2015 until the time of her death, Dr Falala has been working as a Specialist Family Practitioner at Gallen House Emergency Medical Clinic.

Dr Falala was a member of various boards and organisations.

At the time of her untimely death, Dr Falala was a member of Gwanda State University Council, CPCPZ, ZIMA, WONCA, IDCZ and council member of MDPCZ.

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