A LIFE-CHANGING public-private initiative became a reality when mobile phone giant MTN’s MTN South Africa Foundation handed over a fully-equipped computer laboratory to the Free State School of Nursing in Bloemfontein on Thursday (30/06). Dr David Motau, head of the Free State Department of Health, said the computer lab’s importance went beyond training nursing students, as it would also overlap to treat patients, pursue research, track diseases and monitor public health. He said it would optimise the Department of Health’s ability to deliver service. The computer laboratory is situated at the Free State School of Nursing’s premises at the National Hospital in Bloemfontein. It is equipped with 41 workstations, one printer, one compujector, an air-conditioner, security systems, an interactive whiteboard, a server and a modem that supports WiFi, as well as 3G connectivity. Access to the Internet is also available. “We believe our technology can be used for the benefit of humanity and to help solve social challenges,” said Motau. He said the laboratory was beneficial to students in that it gave them access to the world of education and their future. Motau made a strong appeal that the facility be well-maintained and guarded against criminality. “Ensure it is not vandalised or destroyed by those who do not understand the impact it will have on the growth and development of nurses and the health community,” he said. Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, general manager of the MTN SA Foundation, said the donation of the computer laboratory was in line with the company’s mandate to connect communities for greater self-reliance. “This is a worthy investment in the community and South Africa at large,” she said. Mtunzi-Hairwadzi said the foundation would provide data for connectivity until further discussion with the department on when it would be capable of providing data.