By Chadwick Nyajeka
JUNIOR Zimbabwean medical practitioner Dr Wadzanayi Mungoshi might be starting out a career in the field of dentistry, but she already can see where she’s heading: and it’s very far, she admits.
The young and enthusiastic dentist who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Zimbabwe is determined to make a mark in the world of dentistry as a black, African female dentist, and nothing will stand in her way.
Fresh out of college and oozing with confidence, she recalls how as a 15-year-old her mom took her to a consulting dentist, a trip which cemented her love and passion for the profession. She has never looked back since, nor has she ever doubted her career choices.
“My mother took me to the Orthodontist when I was 15 and I was thoroughly impressed by all the equipment and the surgery – I made up my mind there and then that that’s what I wanted and I never looked back,” she wrote on her social media platform this week.
“Not a single day have I ever felt this wasn’t the career for me. Ever!”
According to Dr Mungoshi, getting this far in her blossoming career required taking “the steps I needed to take”.
A gruelling five years in college are all worth the celebration as she has finally landed a professional qualification that is set to be the foundation for bigger achievements in her life.
“The path hasn’t always been clear and straightforward- to this day it isn’t, but a journey of a 1000 miles begins with one step. I’m far from where I want to be – sometimes it scares me just how far I am.
“I feel like I’ll never make it there but then I realize – I’m farther than I was six years ago. Six years ago all I had were my A-Level qualifications.
“Six years later, I’m a holder of a Bachelor of Dental Surgery Degree. Six years ago I dreaded the journey to where I am now but I made it, regardless.”
Dr Mungoshi reckons that her joy at finally starting out in the profession she so loves will be met with challenges, moreso as Zimbabwe has had its fair share of socio-economic challenges.
If there is anything young girls in school can learn from Dr Mungoshi, it’s the ability to see beyond present circumstances and challenge and focus attention on future goals.
“Zimbabwe can be so challenging and difficult. The problems and hurdles are many but I’m determined more than ever to attain my dream.
“I hope to that six years from now I will have a great testimony but for now here’s to achieving my dream from when I was 15. Here’s to entering the field of Dentistry as a fully qualified Dental Surgeon.”
Dr Mungoshi has interest in aesthetic dentistry and orthodontics. She is skilled in a wide range of dental procedures including root canal treatments, crowns and bridges, composite restorations, extractions, scaling and polishing, teeth bleaching, complete and partial dentures, and dry socket treatments.
She also handles prophylaxis in children, pulp capping, cosmetic dentistry, 3D digital scanning, alginate impression taking.
As far as laboratory work is concerned, Dr Mungoshi is well grounded and can gum guards and retainers as well as design crowns, bridges, and milling.
“My comprehensive nature, coupled with my ability to make firm decisions, ensures that the projects I oversee are completed efficiently and productively,” she says.
She also boats excellent organisational, decision-making, and time management skills.
Dr Mungoshi is employed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care. She has also worked at the Premier Service Medical Investments (PSMI) as a dentist.
A 2007 report by State-owned media says that Zimbabwe had 100 dentists working in Government institutions and 200 in private practice, giving a total of 300.
The number barely rose significantly as by 2020, there were around 220 dentists, 100 of whom worked for Government-run organisations.
According to the World Health Organisation, the density of dentists to 10,000 patients in Zimbabwe was just 0.162 in 2020.
This means that 20,000 patients are handled by 2 densists on average. In the UK compared, the density ratio is 5.25 densists per 10,000 patients.