By Thandeka Moyo
Prominent medical practitioner and former Bulawayo City Council councillor, Dr Garry Ferguson, who founded Galen House and Medical Centre in the city, has died.
He was 89.
Dr Ferguson died at Mater Dei Hospital on Monday evening from an undisclosed ailment.
He was born on June 11, 1929 and was a certified Family Physician and Director at Galen House from 1957.
Dr Ferguson only retired last year after serving the Bulawayo community for 61 years.
A family friend and colleague, Dr Chad Tarumbwa, said the late Dr Ferguson, who was originally from Scotland, was the city’s longest serving general practitioner having started his practice years before Zimbabwe attained its Independence in 1980.
“We are saddened by the loss of our great icon, Dr Ferguson, one of the few non-racial doctors who served the people of Zimbabwe before and after independence. During his practice, he trained most of the renowned general practitioners that Zimbabwe ever had, both black and white,” said Dr Tarumbwa.
“We will miss his passion for general practice and his trade unionism which shaped the practice to what it is today. Dr Ferguson was also instrumental in forming a united Zimbabwe Medical Association in 1984 and together with the late Dr Timothy Stamps, they set up a college where general practitioners would be examined before starting their private practice”.
He described the late Dr Ferguson as a visionary general practitioner who set up private institutions to ease pressure on referral hospitals.
“Galen House was set up for minor surgeries and ailments to help save people the stress of going all the way to bigger institutions. However, over the years it turned to be a training ground for all doctors who wanted to start a private practice,” said Dr Tarumbwa.
He said Dr Ferguson’s family and partners had a difficult time trying to convince him to retire as he practiced until a few months ago.
“He was advised to retire four years ago due to old age but he kept on going to Galen House to consult and help people until last year when he finally retired. He was determined and contributed a lot to general practice in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Tarumbwa.
The late Dr Ferguson was on record as saying the late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo was one of the reasons why he did not leave the country with most whites after Independence.
Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni said the local authority will miss Dr Ferguson’s contribution towards the development of the city as a doctor and former councillor.
“The City of Bulawayo has learnt with sadness of the passing of Mr Ferguson who was sworn in as a Councillor for Ward 5 on the April 2, 2008. He was a member of the Environmental Management Committee and was nominated to represent Council in the Bulawayo Publicity Association Committee and the Bulawayo Philharmonic Orchestra for the 2008/2009 Municipal Year,” said Cllr Mguni.
“Mr Ferguson was very active in promoting development in the City as he advocated for the servicing of roads in Cowdray Park and the promotion of a healthy diet for patients at Ingutsheni Hospital.”
City gynaecologist and Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director, Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said Dr Ferguson had mentored and helped a number of doctors establish their practices in Bulawayo and beyond.
“It is with profound sadness to learn of his passing as he was a giant in the medical field, a great visionary who built institutions that will last forever. He was a very jovial person and had a very sharp mind. He will be sadly missed by all of us,” said Dr Ngwenya.
Dr Ferguson is survived by his wife and several children. The Chronicle