University students are always in contact with each other, and can often be found sitting together in crowded lecture halls, eating together, as well as living in and using communal spaces. According to Sister Hannelie Coetzee, Coordinator of Student Health Services. this leads to students, especially first-years, being particularly susceptible to communicable diseases. These diseases are spread by airborne viruses or bacteria, but may also be spread through contact with blood and bodily fluids.
Student Health Services (SHS), which provides health services to all registered UP students, has begun an immunisation campaign in an effort to protect students from communicable diseases – some of which are vaccine-preventable – and helping those who have contracted a disease.
Immunisation greatly reduces the possibility of contracting certain communicable diseases, some of which are potentially fatal. Sister Coetzee said that while all medical students receive immunisation to hepatitis B, it is recommended that all students, especially first-years, receive immunisation for a number of communicable diseases. Residence students are in additional danger of contracting a communicable disease due to communal living spaces. Diseases that can be prevented by immunisation include hepatitis B, polio, mengiococal diseases, influenza, and measles. Students who are interested in immunisation may speak to a nurse at SHS, and vaccinations can be administered for a fee.
Additionally, SHS offers assistance to those who have been infected with or are affected by HIV/Aids. HIV tests and counselling services are offered on a walk-in basis. Student Health staff include HIV counsellors, who have been trained by the Centre for Sexualities, Age, and Gender.
SHS provides additional services, which include walk-in services to students, examinations with a doctor, eye tests, and a diet clinic. Furthermore, a student can be examined, diagnosed and given a prescription for medication that can be bought at a pharmacy. If necessary, they may be referred to a specialist, clinic, hospital, or laboratory. When necessary, SHS can attend to medical emergencies.
Student Health Services can be found at:
Student Health Services building, directly opposite Roosmaryn
Arnold Theiler building
Letlotlo building, level 2