Roma College of Nursing (RCN) says it plans to offer an oncology nursing course in the near future as part of its expansion.
Oncology, the school says will form part of other new programmes to be offered.
â€œWe are planning to introduce new programmes, starting with Nursing Assistants Bridging Program and start Oncology Nursing,â€ RCN principal nurse educator, Lydia Keketsi Mokotso said on Monday.
An oncology nurse is a specialised nurse who works closely with oncologists to care for patients of all ages who have been diagnosed with cancer.
The Director General of Health Services, Nyane Letsie, indicated in February this year that cancer has become Lesothoâ€™s major health concern, saying it was the second leading cause of death for women and fifth for men.
Letsie said cancer of the cervix was the leading cause of death among female cancer patients.
She was speaking at the World Cancer Day commemorations in Maseru on February 4, 2022.
Letsie also revealed that Lesotho was paying a high price for failing to construct its cancer treatment facility, saying the government spent M144 million on cancer referrals to South Africa in 2021 alone.
In April, Health Minister Semano Sekatle said 346 out of the 514 women diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2020 died.
Sekatle said cervical cancer was the most common cancer in Lesotho with an average of 500 women being diagnosed with the disease annually.
Mokotso told the media on Monday there were also plans to modernise and expand the Roma nursing collegeâ€™s infrastructure, including buildings.
â€œThere will be developments, especially studentsâ€™ residences and stronger internet access to cater for online resources and platforms,â€ she said.
2022 marks the 50th anniversary of RCN. The college was established on August 15, 1972.
The celebration will be held in Roma on December 9, this year, Mokotso said.
â€œAll willing stakeholders, organisations and individuals are welcome to contribute in various ways to make the upcoming event a success,â€ Mokotso said.
RCN is a non-profit making Roman Catholic Institution under the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL).
It is under the proprietorship of the Archbishop of Maseru and is an integral part of St. Josephâ€™s Hospital
It aims to provide nurse training education for the candidates of both diplomas in Nursing and Midwifery, responding to the manpower needs of Lesotho within the healthcare system.
As such, the college is open to all candidates of any gender and various religious backgrounds.
She said since its establishment, the college has produced 1,401 graduates â€œof which 772 are general nursing graduates while 629 are midwifery graduatesâ€.
The collegeâ€™s accountant officer, Pholo Mashongoane, told the media on Monday that there were planned activities ahead of the major celebration in December.
These activities, according to Mashongoane, are intended to help raise funds for the celebrations.
Other funds will be used to assist needy students while some will be used to develop the college, he said.
â€œThere will be a fun walk from Ha-Makhalanyane to Roma College on September 3, 2022. Tickets for the fun walk will cost M300.00 which includes a T-shirt, cap, food as well as bottled water,â€ he said.
â€œAnother plan is to host a fundraising gala dinner at the Maseru Avani on November 4, 2022. A ticket will cost M500.00 per person and or M4 500.00 for a table of 10 people. We have also started selling branded items such as pens, mugs, bottles, flasks and T-shirts,â€ he added.
The big celebration in December, according to the collegeâ€™s assistant human resource officer, â€˜Makatleho Pharoe, will be attended by many dignitaries including those from the roman catholic church, ministries of health and education, CHAL and the Lesotho Catholic Bishops Conference (LCBC), among others.