FRANCISTOWN: Some female students at the Francistown Institute for Health Sciences (IHS) are allegedly selling their bodies for sex to augment their ‘meagre’ P150 monthly stipend.
The shocking revelations emerged when newly elected Francistown East Member of Parliament, Buti Billy, paid a courtesy call to the institution yesterday.
At the meeting, some students alleged that some of their peers had resorted to prostitution as a way of supplementing their allowances. IHS Student Representative Council president, Thabo Kgosipula, pointed out that their monthly allowance was not enough to cater for their basic needs. “The P150 allowance was instituted way back and this allowance has to be reviewed to meet today’s demands because life is expensive.
We are not different from students at the University of Botswana who are given a better allowance,” he said.
Billy added that the reports emanating from the training institution worried him, especially as prostitution was not only illegal but also fraught with sexually transmitted infections.
He said government was pumping funds into the shortage of health care workers via the training provided at the IHS and activities such as prostitution would unravel the investment.
“Prostitution puts your lives at risk of contracting deadly diseases,” Billy said.
“After completing your studies, your lifespan should not be reduced by these diseases.
“The expectation is that you will serve the nation and help the country meet the national Vision 2016 aspirations.”
The legislator said no matter the financial situation students found themselves in, engaging in prostitution is illegal and risky to their lives.
He promised to take their complaints to the Minister of Education and Skills Development as he concurred that, “life is expensive”.
“I agree that most of our policies are outdated and need to be revisited to suit today’s challenges,” said Billy.
A progression student, Lesedi Nduna, said nurses generally do not further their studies out of fear of having their salaries slashed during the course of the training.
“Government should consider giving them their full salaries because these same nurses offer free medical assistance to nearby hospitals,” she said.
Meanwhile, Billy raised a concern about low enrolment at the institution, noting that while the IHS can cater for 390 students, it currently only has 197.
He said that a lot of money was used to build the school and under-enrolment amounted to waste.
“The country is faced with a shortage of nurses, but youth shuns institutions like IHS where they can be sponsored for training.
“Many people have lost their lives because they did not receive immediate health assistance at the clinic and hospitals due to shortage of manpower,” he said.
Francistown Institute for Health Sciences is located in Francistown East constituency and trains health workers in that region.