VHEMBE. – Requests to the Department of Education to upgrade facilities at the Mafukani pre-school have fallen on deaf ears, and have eventually resulted in a four-year-old nearly losing her life after being bitten by a snake in the sub-standard toilet facilities at the school.
The teachers recalled the day’s traumatic events: “I heard children screaming and saw others running from the toilet. When I asked what was going on, they said they were scared of a snake that they saw at the toilet. But when I went to look it was gone,” said Thendo Maranda a teacher at Mafukani pre-school.
The principal, Thanzielo Mbedzi said: “When I heard Thendo calling out for me, I ran out immediately. When I reached her she was helping a four-year-old child who crying hysterically.
The gardener at the pre-school, Nditsheni Nethulama, was very worried about the little girl’s condition. “I suspected that the snake has bitten her and I immediately arranged a car to take her to the nearest clinic. When we carried her to the car she was no longer crying or talking and we were very scared that something bad was going to happen to her,” he said.
“When they arrived here at the clinic she was unconscious, but we managed to wake her up when we were doing some first aid treatments before rushing her to the hospital. She was very lucky that by the time she was brought in there was an ambulance waiting that was called in for a maternity emergency. So we got her into that ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital,” said Sarah Netshidongololwe, a nurse at Matavhela clinic.
Khangwelo Mulaudzi, the mother of the child that was bitten by the snake said: “I was very angry and scared at the same time when I received the news that my daughter was bitten by a snake and had to be rushed to hospital. I first accused the management for not building proper toilets at the pre-school but then I realised that it is not only their responsibility but ours as parents too. We have to help the school management to make sure that our children are safe at school.”
Thendo Maranda concluded that: “We would really appreciate it if the parents can at least contribute some money so that we can build some proper toilets for the kids because we can’t rely on the department to do everything for us and we have been asking them for assistance with our building for a very long time now but nothing has been done. We have to work together to ensure our children’s safety because if we don’t, cases like this will always happen.” – OurHealth/Health-e News Service
Suprise Nemalale is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Vhembe health district in Limpopo.