Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Siweya, has visited the St Elizabeth Hospital and Mqikela High School – both in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape – to get a first-hand account of what interventions are needed at these two institutions.
Siweya visited the two institutions as part of government’s monitoring programme.
The St Elizabeth Hospital is a regional hospital with approximately 175 approved hospital beds and a staff complement of 637.
The facility, which has a low number of health-care workers, presents risks of long waiting times and overwhelming complaints.
The hospital has been able to increase its staff complement to 31 doctors (29 full time and 2 sessional), 4 pharmacists and 4 radiographers.
While at the hospital, the Deputy Minister was told about a vacant nearby building that the provincial government officials wanted to be converted into, in a higher learning institution, so the local learners don’t have to go to faraway places for higher learning education.
She said they will engage with the Higher Education Minister regarding the empty building. “We will have to engage the Minister of Higher Education and explain to him about the building and see if it can be used for higher education,” Siweya said.
The Deputy Minister also visited a construction site of a nursing college within the hospital precinct which consists of a pediatric ward and a hospital laundry as well as a refurbished Thuthuzela Care Centre.
The construction of Lilitha Nursing College is nearing completion, with the main outstanding work being around the Student Centre, the anticipated completion date is October 2019.
Upon her arrival at the hospital, she had a closed door meeting with the Eastern Cape provincial government officials where she was briefed about the developments in the province.
Mqikela High School
After the briefing, the Deputy Minister accompanied by the provincial government officials visited Mqikela High School where she was briefed about the school and the progress of the learners.
Mqikela Secondary School is a quintile 2, no fee, Section 21 School. The school is under Malangeni Circuit, OR Tambo Coastal District.
The school has a total of 1157 learners from grades 8 to 12 and 41 staff posts including the Principal and HODs.
During the briefing at the school, it emerged that girl learners were being raped either on their way home or while studying at school.
Addressing the learners, Deputy Minister Siweya told the learners that they must focus on their studies.
“You must focus on your studies as this is the only way that will make you a better person in life,” she said.
The Deputy Minister also urged the learners to protect each other.
She also expressed concern about the high teenage pregnancy rate, saying something must be done to prevent this.
“Parents must talk to their children about the sex and what happens when one has unprotected sex, teachers must also get involved.”
She said raising a child should be the responsibility of the parents, teachers and the whole community.
The Deputy Minister’s visit at the hospital and at the school was to assess the quality of service delivery and get a sense of what interventions were needed.
This includes promoting education as a key requirement for the youth in lifting their communities out of poverty and enabling a better life.
During the briefing, School Principal Faniswa Daniso expressed concern about teenage pregnancy and crime in the area.
As at August 2019, the number of learners that have been confirmed as pregnancy stands at 13 (2 grade 12, 4 grade 11, 6 grade 10 and 1 grade 9).
“Our learners cannot focus because of the many things happening around them,” she said.
The Deputy Minister interacted with the learners and teachers while at the school.
A learner at the school, Sibahle Sikhakhane told SAnews that she was happy that the Deputy Minister had visited their school.
“I am happy that the Deputy Minister has encouraged us to focus on our studies,” she said, adding that she also committed to fix their school fence.
Apart from the high pregnancy rate, the school is also experiencing a drug abuse problem which results in learners becoming unruly and instilling fear in teachers. – SAnews.gov.za
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