UCT health services in Khayelitsha suspended after students robbed at gunpoint

2016-08-17 19:08
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Cape Town - Student health services offered in Khayelitsha by the University of Cape Town have been temporarily suspended after six health sciences students were accosted by robbers at gunpoint on Tuesday.

UCT spokesperson Gerda Kruger in a statement said the students were attacked as they drove in a university vehicle to Ummangaliso Primary School to pick up four other students. The robbery took place outside the school.

"The speech and language therapy students were at the school for their professional practice placement. Ummangaliso Primary is one of the partners in the schools improvement initiative that is run by UCT in Khayelitsha," she said.

"As the van slowed down, it was approached by three armed gunmen who robbed students of their cellphones and bags. One final-year student was robbed of the entire patient portfolio she had developed as a final-year requirement. She has no way of retrieving this lost information."

No one was injured.

"UCT has offered trauma counselling to the students and the Dean's office at the Faculty of Health Sciences is negotiating with convenors to minimise the effect on the students' academic lives," Kruger said.

The incident is the second robbery of members of the programme in two months - a project manager was attacked on June 20, also in Khayelitsha.

According to Kruger, the project manager was stopped by two gunmen as she was driving in Site B along with a passenger. Her bag was stolen.

Long-term response

"We are appalled that students and staff who are serving the community have been attacked in this way.

"It is shocking that the criminal behaviour of a few individuals should interfere with the good work that our students and staff members are trying to do," Kruger said.

The university runs programmes through its Faculty of Health Sciences and the Students Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (Shawco) within the community.

"UCT's Schools Improvement Initiative works in many primary and secondary schools. The services provided by medical and health and rehabilitation students serve hospitals, community health clinics and schools in Cape Town," Kruger said.

"Shawco provides mobile clinics that visit townships and informal communities, manned by about 15 UCT students as well as volunteer doctors. Shawco tutoring services are also provided by about 50 additional UCT students."

Shawco's mobile clinic, which visits Khayelitsha on Mondays, will not be affected by this weeks' suspension of volunteer services.

The Saturday tutoring programme, however, will be suspended.

The university said it intends to discuss its "long-term response to these incidents at the highest level" and that strategies will be put in place to ensure the safety of those working in partner schools in Khayelitsha.

Read more on:    uct  |  cape town  |  crime

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