Therapeutic Documentaries of Persons with MS (PwMS) and the Effects It Has on Their Families in Zimbabwe

Thursday, May 29, 2014
Trinity Exhibit Hall

Background: This research project focuses on PwMs relating their success stories and challenges faced in living wth MS IN Zimbabwe.Where there is no Disease Modifying Therapies-(DMT).It concentrates on profiling the lived experiences of (PwMS) and the impact experienced by their families such as how the non-affected family members can be stressed up ,suffer from anxiety or depression at times more than the affected (PwMS).

Also the fact that help offered to a (PwMS) can be overprotective ,overpowering and overwhelming to a (PwMS).It also covers the aspects of childhood  as evidenced by the signs and symptoms  of one of the (PwMS) who had it  at around 12years of age.  Gender differentials are also considered in this study as it incoporates one male (PwMS) and two females, one Black female with (MS) and the other a (PwMS) of color.  It reflects on the ability of (PwMS) to be compatitive in most if not all aspects of living such as work, familym social issues, recreation, leisure and sporting activities. 


To encourage other (PwMS) on coping strategies used without much resources and latest treatments.

To blend in well family support systems with the needs of (PwMS).

To reveal the benefits of adhering to nutritious and healthy eating habits

To highlight to the world of MS that there is a possibility of having MS in Zimbabwe as a child. 


Qualitative interviewing process was used through frequent home visits to participant homes, building constant rapport with them.

Video tapping of the three participants and their family members  was yet another progression of the methods employed.

The school of thought which influenced this interviewing process was mostly Systemic Thinking Model.

Telling and re-telling was encouraged as part and parcel of re-membering process.


(PwMS) were found to have formulated their own copying strategies were there is no access to Disease Modifying Therapies - (DMT).

The family members learnt not to offer too much help where it is not required and give the (PwMS) their own space.

Survival skills in basic livelihoods were learnt and adjusted too, including methods of improvision.

The therapuetic intervention of being listened too, respected and being allowed to express self showed that a (PwMS) is very important, proving that 'disability is not in-ability!'


This study inquire in it's small way proved that for real there are (PwMS) in Zimbabwe who are making it in life dispite their condition.  Also the fact that MS is there in Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole, though some of the people go for years un-diagnosed or mistaken for other conditions.  It emphasiszed on using what is avaliable and on the ground as in the position of working out on solutions to own problems, being your own expert and knowing what works for you better out of the many options tried out.