By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA – The Eastern Free State School of Nursing College housed at Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli regional hospital has been shut down indefinitely after several complains by students and lecturers about its dire state.
Investigations have shown that this dilapidated college which accommodated more than two hundred students, has not been properly maintained since it was built in the eighties by former Qwaqwa prime minister, Dr Tshiame Kenneth Mopeli.
The college infrastructure network is outdated and impedes proper sanitation which resulted in an unbearable odour from within its residence corridors and has left about 200 students displaced.
Nursing students claim they have always been victims of illness due to unhygienic conditions of the college.
This publication also found that there were several students who contracted TB while others were forced to pack and go home as a results of the heavy smelling odour that pervaded the college’s residence.
Students said they were requested to vacate the college in March this year.
Representative Council president, Moferefere Hlongwane confirm the reports that it is indeed true that there were students who have been exposed to TB because of the heavy air pollution in the collage’s residences.
“There were several times that we heard of reports saying the college will be renovated, and that was in 2016. But nothing has been done since then,” Hlongwane disclosed.
First-year students at the college, Mamosiwa Kutu also shared her experience saying the living conditions of the college was deteriorating and went from bad to worse to an extent that at some stage they were living without electricity and water and had to go queue for hot water inside the hospital every morning “it strained us a lot because we had to continue studying while we had to deal with the college unhygienic conditions” Kutu added.
College lecturer who also seat in the council portfolio for infrastructure, Nthabiseng Motsatse told this publication that one of their colleagues had unfortunately lost her life due to poor hygiene in the college.
“There have always been promises that suggests the government will intervene but it was easier said than done. You can imagine if students were able to complete their studies under such traumatic living conditions,” Motsatse said.
However, Health MEC Montsheng Tsiu last week said they have identified a contractor that will renovate the dire state of living conditions at the nursing college facilities.
“The contractor is expected to start with the work today and was given eighteen Months contract to complete the work,” Tsiu said.
According to Free State Health, Head of Infrastructure Adv. Molemane Thebe, the department has set aside 20 million rand for the renovation of this college facilities. Thebe said the College infrastructure network is very old and needed to be maintained.
The development stemmed from Premier of Free State Sefora Ntombela ‘s visit during Human right day which was a part of ‘Thoso’ operation and registered dissatisfaction at the appalling situation at the nursing college at regional hospital which is also ear marked to pilot National Health Insurance (NHI) .
“What we saw at hospital was a disgrace the least .It was shame that a facility could reach that stage of decay when there are funds meant to address such challenges. The contractor will begin work on Tuesday with the hope of completing work soon so that the students can return to hospital.”
Ntombela also appealed to community to always alert government officials whenever there are challenge like this.