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31 pharmacy students hospitalised at SMU after experiencing eyesight problems



Third-year pharmacy students at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University hospitalised with eyesight issues after practical session, prompting class suspension.

Thirty-one third-year pharmacy students from Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) were hospitalised after they experienced an “eyesight problem” following a laboratory or practical session at the university.

The higher education institution suspended academic activities for Bachelor of Pharmacy third-year students with immediate effect on Thursday afternoon after they experienced eyesight problems.

According to a statement from the university, 10 students received medical attention and treatment at the Tshwane District Hospital, and 21 students were treated by the Pretoria West Hospital private Folateng wards.

“After consultation with the school leadership, management has closed the laboratory in question with immediate effect to allow the investigation to determine the cause of the students’ medical condition(s) to be concluded without delay,” university registrar Dr Jeffrey Mabelebele said.

Psychosocial support offered

The university added that the resumption of the class’s academic activities will be decided by the dean of the school, who will take the affected students’ health and safety into consideration.

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Furthermore, the institution’s psychosocial support services, through its department of student affairs, will be enlisted for all the affected students and other members of the class who did not present the eyesight symptoms or related symptoms.

“As we get to the bottom of the cause of this tragedy that has befallen our students, we wish all the affected students a speedy recovery,” the university said.

“The university community, through the dean of the school, shall be kept informed of developments.”

SMU global rankings

The university recently climbed up the ladder in the University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) after securing the 16th position in South Africa and 2 229 in the global rank, improving from the 19th position in South Africa and 3 041 in the previous year’s ranking.

Professor Bassy Marvey, the university’s director of institutional planning, said in his remarks that this development demonstrated SMU’s commitment to academic quality and its effective attempts to raise its standing internationally.

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