SAD: Live wire costs 7-year-old boy both arms, part of his feet (PIC)

THE United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) has been home for her and her seven-year-old son for the past two months following a tragic incident, which cost the boy both his arms and part of his feet.

While her son’s healing process is progressing well, Ms Sithulisiwe Tshuma from Ingwizi area in Mangwe District said the most difficult time lies ahead, which is helping her son adjust to his new lifestyle.

Ms Tshuma’s son Thembani Godknows Madzipa and two other boys aged eight and 10-years were electrocuted after touching a live electricity wire which was lying on the ground while on their way from Kweneng Primary School in Mangwe District on May 17. Thembani was injured at 1PM while the other two boys were injured at 3PM.

A pole in the area reportedly collapsed causing electricity cables to fall down. While the boys told their guardians that they were electrocuted while they were just walking past the electricity cables the parents suspect that the children could have touched the live wires out of curiosity.

Two of the boys are still admitted to UBH while the other boy was treated and discharged after suffering minor burns.

Thembani who suffered the most injuries had both arms amputated. The toes on his right leg and part of his foot on the same leg were also surgically cut off.

Ms Tshuma said she recalls finding her son wailing in agony on that fateful day.

“I received a phone call telling me to come to Ngwizi Business Centre as my son had been hurt. I found him wailing in agony and he was severely burnt on his arms and feet. He couldn’t see. I rushed him to Brunapeg Hospital and we were further referred to UBH where we’ve been staying since May 17,” she said.

“The past two months have been the worst time of my life. I have had to watch my son in excruciating pain and the worst part is that I have had to watch him being amputated on both arms.

“It was very difficult for me to explain to my son what had happened to his arms. When I think about my situation and what befell my son tears come to my eyes.”

During her son’s two month stay in hospital Ms Tshuma has been by his side ensuring that he is fed and his needs are met.

While Zesa is assisting her with medical bills for her son’s treatment Ms Tshuma said she does not know how she will ensure that her son continues with his education at an ideal school.

Gogo Madic Ngwenya also from Ingwizi area said her 10-year-old grandson has also been at the hospital for two months after he was also electrocuted. Her grandson, Gufawone Maphosa who is a Grade 4 pupil at Kweneng Primary School sustained burns underneath his feet and on his right arm.

Gogo Ngwenya said her grandson could not walk as his feet were still painful from the burns. She said while she was not staying with her grandson in hospital, she had to visit him every day.

Gogo Ngwenya said the electricity cables which harmed her grandson and the two other children had been lying on the ground for a number of weeks.

Matabeleland South provincial social welfare officer, Mr Criswell Nyakudya said his office is handling the matter ensuring that the affected families and children receive psychosocial support.

He said efforts were underway to ensure that Thembani will get assistive devices following his amputation.

Mr Nyakudya said Thembani will also have to be transferred to an ideal school when he is fit to resume his studies.

“As the Department of Social Welfare, the matter was reported to us and we are handling it to ensure that the affected families get all the assistance they need which is under our jurisdiction. The injured boys and their families are receiving psychosocial support. We have engaged the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to see to it that the boy who was amputated will be able to resume his studies at an appropriate school. The school where he learns is about four kilometres from where he stays,” he said.

Chief Tshitshi whose jurisdiction covers Ingwizi area said the unfortunate incident could have been avoided if Zesa officials had fixed the cables timeously. He said finding live cables lying on the ground was common in the rural areas and it was a huge threat to people and animals.

Chief Tshitshi said there was need for Zesa officials to constantly check on the stability of poles.

“It’s sad that a child has lost his arms because of electrocution. This incident wouldn’t have occurred if the electricity cables had been fixed and not left to lie on the ground. From my investigations it appears that those electricity cables had been lying on the ground for some time. Zesa officials need to constantly check on the stability of their poles and those that have rotted have to be replaced,” he said. — @DubeMatutu

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