Freeblessing Murahwa

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Summary: Freeblessing Murahwa is a trained dentist who established several organizations to provide free health care to citizens in rural areas of Zimbabwe. He himself forgoes a more comfortable urban practice to travel to remote malaria-infested areas to provide dental services, something that his patients can’t otherwise afford.

Profile: It’s one thing to do your job. It’s quite another to sacrifice income, travel to remote areas, and risk your health by exposing yourself to disease. But that’s what Freeblessing Murahwa and his colleagues have been doing for years in rural Zimbabwe: providing free health care to over 15,000 people.

Think about the pain when you have a toothache. Now think about the pain when you’re too poor to pay for a dentist. Most public hospitals in Zimbabwe charge about $30 in U.S. currency for removing a tooth, something that a majority of the rural population can’t afford.

Murahwa, a dentist who received his training at Indiana University, realized this, and started to set up organizations—the Christian Medical Fellowship, Jewish Voice Ministries International, Global Outreach and Dentaid—whose hundreds of international professionals provide health care in Zimbabwe at no cost to the patient. They’re not only using mobile clinics to provide the care; they’re also building rural health centers as a permanent solution to the problem.

Murahwa himself has provided dental services to people in malaria-infested neighborhoods, risking disease in order to reach the poor. Many of these people have never even seen a dentist.

“I trained as a dentist,” he says, “at one of the country’s leading institutions and realized that many people were failing to access dental health care in the country. We travel to the most remote parts of the country risking dangerous diseases such as malaria and set up mobile clinics which we offer free dental removal to those having toothaches for free.”

What Murahwa doesn’t say is that his commitment to this work undermines his ability to make a living in a safer and more comfortable urban environment.