State urged to introduce meals in nursing colleges

State urged to introduce meals in nursing colleges

GENDER activists have called upon the government to introduce food allowances to Diploma students in its nursing colleges just like it was the case in the past.

The call was made following a survey conducted in 20 nursing colleges in the Western and Lake Zones which uncovered challenges facing female students who cannot manage meeting costs of food served in hotels and vendors outside the campuses, hence succumbing to sexual violence.

Briefing the ‘Daily News’ here on Tuesday during the launch of the International Women’s Day celebrations which climaxes tomorrow, the Technical Advisor from Jhpiego responsible for Gender and Adolescent, Ms Mary Rwegasira said a deliberate action was needed to reverse the trend.

She said that Jhpiego through its project dubbed ‘More and Better Midwives’ for rural Tanzania (MBM-RTz) conducted the baseline and midline surveys in the nursing colleges and found that absence of food affected female students badly than their male counterparts.

“Failure to access food in college means that students have to buy it from outside and that is when the young women become victims of circumstance compared to males because many cannot afford to meet the costs involved,” she said.

According to her, as a result of many female students inability to meet food costs, they are forced to engage in sexual activities in exchange for money, hence getting pregnant, loose concentration and ultimately dropping out of college and eventually reducing the workforce in the medical fraternity.

Ms Rwegasira said gender equality was important in the provision of equitable social services, insisting that it was equally crucial for attaining sustainable development as per this year’s celebration message.

Reiterating a call for support, she asked the government to also consider providing subsidies or 100 percent loans for students taking diploma programmes in nursing just like it was the case with their colleagues taking medicine in higher learning institutions.

That approach was important in order to bridge a serious gap of skilled experts in the medical facilities especially in rural settings whose main consumers were women and children from poor families.

On families, Ms Rwegasira challenged parents to encourage their daughters to study science subjects and allocate them more time for private studies instead of keeping them busy with other extra curriculum activities and tiresome timetables at home.

During an event which was attended by a number of dignitaries, including students and their tutors from Bukumbi, Sengerema, Sumve, Geita and Bugando Nursing Schools the MBMRTz project achievements were highlighted some being providing support to women to overcome their social challenges.

Acting Misungwi District Executive Director (DED), Majid Kabyemela underscored the need for the society having highly trained and confident manpower, challenging women to grab all the opportunities without fear and favour.

He said women with self-confidence can always make it not only in medical industry but in other life cycles as well without necessarily depending on men as evidenced in many areas of competencies.

“The scenarios should be the same even in medicine, where women nurses in college and workplaces should strive to excel no matter how many challenges they encounter in the process,” he said.

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