Students' wellbeing critical, says Mlambo-Ngcuka

UN women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
UN women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Image: Yoliswa Sobuwa

UN women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on Thursday called on higher institutions to have a compulsory orientation for students on gender-based violence.

Mlambo-Ngcuka was addressing a breakfast meeting organised by Higher Education and Training Health Wellness and Development Centre (HEAIDS) in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg. 

Among those who attended the breakfast meeting included vice-chancellors and principals of 26 universities and 50 TVET colleges, and higher education and training minister Naledi Pandor.

"The epidemic in South Africa of gender-based violence indeed mirrors what we see in different parts of the world," Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

"In 2016, half of the women who were murdered were killed by a partner globally. We are dealing with a real big crisis around the world. Solutions to support health and wellbeing of students at higher institutions remain critical. Institutional culture should be changed to adopt best practices." 

CEO of HEAIDS Ramneek Ahluwalia said the centre was established in late 1990s when HIV/Aids looked invincible.

"With concerted focus, endurance, resources and collaborations the infections stabilised and we are beginning to see reduced infection rates in HIV as well as TB and improved health outcomes. Now we must have an equal commitment and plan to meet other social and developmental challenges faced by students and our sector," Ahluwalia said.

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