NHTC graduates urged to embrace empathy
THE National Health Training College (NHTC) conferred diplomas and certificates to 257 graduates on Friday during a colourful ceremony held at the institute’s grounds in Maseru.
The graduation ceremony was the 16th since the college’s establishment in 1989. Among the dignitaries in attendance was Health Deputy Minister Liteboho Kompi, National University of Lesotho (NUL) Vice Chancellor Professor Nqosa Mahao, former deputy prime minister Lesao Lehohla and former Social Development minister ‘Matebatso Doti.
Of the 257 graduates, 21 were awarded certificates in Auxiliary Social Work, 31 were awarded certificates in Nursing Assistant, 26 were awarded diplomas in Environmental Health Sciences, 24 were awarded diplomas in Medical Laboratory Sciences, 22 were awarded diplomas in Pharmacy Technology, 57 were awarded diplomas in General Nursing, 62 were awarded diplomas in Midwifery and eight were awarded diplomas in Ophthalmic Nursing.
The institution also honoured eight graduates with the “Best Clinical Performance Award” and six with the “Outstanding Academic Performance Award”.
In her address, NHTC Director-General, Shahida Taar, urged the graduates to continue to develop themselves to ensure they are professional, competent and hardworking.
“Allow me to express my admiration for today’s graduands and express my faith that you as ambassadors for NHTC will go on to shape and manage the knowledge-intensive fast moving world in which we live,” she said.
“You should never stop learning; never stop asking questions; and never forget that the health science discipline is an art as well as a science practiced by health care professionals who bring to the bedside and to the bench – not only technology and training but also their humanity, caring and concern.”
Dr Taar also implored the graduates to be guided by a moral compass.
“Take advantage of these challenging times to strengthen your moral compass by directing your energies and talents to doing good, not just doing well; that you combine the knowledge and skills you have gained here with courage of your convictions to be great healthcare workers who will hand to the next generation of healthcare workers even more innovative, responsive, curative and preventative health care system than the one that was handed to you,” she said.
Professor Mahao echoed similar sentiments, saying health workers were critical contributors towards Lesotho’s development.
“Good health is a serious issue and is central to people’s happiness and overall well-being. It enables us to be productive and make significant contributions in our respective households, workplaces and communities,” he said.
“You have a great task ahead of you as you will have the lives of so many people in your hands. Your work will have a great impact on the outcome of critical issues such as life expectancy, family planning, treatment of diseases, child birth, mortality rate, maternal care, health planning, and the advancement of health related research such as patient safety to name just one.”
In her keynote address, Ms Kompi urged the students to practise what they had learnt for the betterment of society and have a heart of empathy towards their patients.
“Over the period of your learning at NHTC, you have acquired knowledge, skills and your attitudes moulded to make you better care providers, but unless these are translated into action, they will be off no value,” she said.
“The provision of quality health care by trained professionals is a job that requires conscious people, who know that they are not in the profession only because they need a job or money, but also to realise that they must serve humanity and be selfless and dedicated to saving lives as a key drive to their profession.”
Speaking on behalf of the class of 2015, Limpho Mathai said it was not easy for them to complete their courses, but only through hard work and diligence.
“My fellow graduands, I know these were times of stress and we were out of our comfort zones. Despite all the problems, we survived and accepted the challenges,” she said.