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DENOSA North West Student Movement's reaction to the involvement of Student nurses into the vaccination programme 

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DENOSA North West Student Movement's reaction to the involvement of Student nurses into the vaccination programme 

Friday, 23 July 2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in the healthcare sector including delaying the academic programmes for student nurses in colleges and universities by more than nine months already, the DENOSA Student Movement in North West is opposed to the new directive by provincial department of health to include student nurses in the province as COVID-19 vaccinators, owing to the shortage of staff, when they are not even covered for compensation should they contract the virus.
The student nurses are still lagging far behind with their studies and are facing a threat of not being registered by the regulatory body for nursing, the South African Nursing Council (SANC) due to their overstay as a result of delays imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The provincial department of health issued a directive that student nurses should be part of the vaccination programme to assist the department at the work front on vaccinating community members. With this directive, the student nurses will be further delayed from meeting the requirements to complete their course. 
The affected students are the level 3s and the level 4s who, it is solely argued, have ‘completed the requirements for community nursing science and the general nursing science’. 
DENOSA Student Movement’s solid basis for refusing to allow the exploitation of student nurses in this regard is the following: 
1. There is no thorough training for COVID vaccination for students.
2. There is no outlined protection (danger allowance-COIDA) for students at the work front of vaccination.
3. There is no outlined compensation for students as they will be working on the programme that is funded. 
With the above mentioned reasons amongst the others, DENOSA student movement in the North West will not agree to the exploitation of the student nurses as a labour force which is going to endanger their livelihoods without any protection or compensation. 
The enforcement of this deployment of students will be regarded as a clear exploitation and abuse of power by our authorities. If the government cannot hire the many unemployed qualified nurses who are sitting at home, let the MEC of Health and MEC of Finance come down and do the work instead if they are still preoccupied with the useless idea of cutting costs at the time of the pandemic. 
We say let the completion of the academic programme (theoretical and practical) of students be a priority as the pandemic lockdown has ripped that out of student’s lives. 
On the unending backlog of infrastructure preparedness for nursing education in the province.   
During the year 2020 around the month of March the South African country was declared a state of disaster by the state President due to the novel COVID -19 pandemic, student nurses were impacted negatively by the results of the pandemic and related challenges.  
The following issues are long-standing matters that have been addressed with the North West Department of health but haven’t been resolved at all:
On the 17th of August 2020 the DENOSA student movement in the North West Province, wrote a letter to the Administrator Ms J. Hunter to request the progress of the North West College of Nursing’s (Klerksdorp and Mafikeng campuses) student residence constructions.
The NWDoH responded on the 27th of August 2020 by stating that the new contractor to finalize the building at Mafikeng campus will be appointed by October 2020 and the completion of the construction will take nine months from thereof. The month of July 2021 marks the 9th month as promised by the administrator of Health Ms Hunter, however going to the institution there is not even movement of progress in completing the building. The same applies to Klerksdorp campus where the DoH said they will be done with the building by November 2020, even to date the students are still residing on the scattered, unsafe and dilapidated outsourced residences. 
We are challenging the NWDoH health to finalize the student residences as this is long overdue. Note that this project started in 2016 and until now there’s no progress. We don’t have sufficient and conducive classrooms, no library for students, no science lab for the new R171 programme, no student information system and all this is part of the package of the infrastructure. 
As alluded at the introduction that the pandemic has impacted very harshly on the nursing education, particularly from the colleges. Below are the challenges that came with the COVID-19 lockdown:
1. The course extension of over nine months.
2. Lack of academic support system (no online studies for students).
3. No data and gadgets to support the online studies.
4. No wellbeing support for students during the lockdown.
Not withholding the above mentioned challenges, the NWDoH doesn’t have a plan in place to save the academic progress of student nurses during these trying times. 
Worse of all, the South African Nursing Council is expecting institutions to motivate as to why students are still at the colleges and universities for more than the expected time of completions. To write this report to SANC, however, seems to be a challenge for institutional managers. That on its own is a challenge to the future of our young nurses, as SANC is said not to be registering students who overstayed the period of their studies at the nursing education institutions (NEI’s). 
We urge the institutional management to write this report to SANC and state the cause of the course extensions for the students, from the unrests/ protests that took place over the years to the novel pandemic lockdown before students are made victims of circumstances that were not of their making.
Issued by DENOSA North West Student Movement.
For more information, contact:
Mothusi lebatle, DENOSA Student Movement Provincial Chairperson
Mobile: 067 059 3735/ 072 591 3571
Email address:
Mr T.R Couter
NW DENOSA Student Movement Provincial Organizer
Mobile: 074 766 1265
Email address: