Sifelani Tsiko Agric, Environment & Innovations Editor
Eminent specialist physician Dr Nelson Okwanga who succumbed to Covid -19 two weeks ago in Harare was laid to rest in Uganda on August 23 (Monday).
His body was flown to Uganda on August 22 after his relatives and close associates in the medical fraternity mobilised funds to repatriate his body to his home country.
The veteran physician, who served in Zimbabwe for nearly four decades, died at the age of 74.
Dr Martin Odwee, a close relative, spearheaded efforts to secure all documentation for the remains to be repatriated to Uganda.
A virtual farewell church service was held on Saturday at an Anglican Church in Harare.
Dr Okwanga was laid to rest in the rural district of Aber in Uganda.
Tributes were paid to Dr Okwanga, a selfless and committed physician who cared so much for his patients and the continent he served.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Minister of Health and Child Care, described Dr Okwanga as a dedicated doctor with interest in diabetes.
“He has left an indelible mark in the medical field as a specialist physician with interest in diabetes,” he said in his condolence message.
“Dr Okwanga was a good doctor and advisor, a humble, loving family man, a golfer, keen fisherman, a loyal friend endowed with a huge heart, ‘famous’ DJ, and loved by millions of friends.”
Dr Okwanga was born on April 2 in 1947 in Aduku, Kwania County, Lango in Uganda. He did his primary and secondary education in Uganda before moving to study a medical degree in the UK.
He graduated in 1974 at the University of Manchester in the UK.
Dr Okwanga was the first black physician at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare soon after the country gained its independence in 1980.
From 1984, he worked as a specialist physician at Parirenyatwa Hospital and taught at the University of Zimbabwe Medical School.
After nearly 30 years of service, Dr Okwanga retired in April 2012 and operated a private surgery at West End Clinic in Harare treating patients with disorders of the endocrine system such as diabetes and other conditions.
Dr Okwanga was married to Esther (nee Chirisa), now late, and the couple had three children.
He is survived by his son Nigel. A daughter died in 2017.