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Sleepless nights as bedbugs attack Makerere students

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Mary Stuart, one of the girls’ halls of residence at  Makerere University

Mary Stuart, one of the girls’ halls of residence at Makerere University. Students also have also complained of lacking water and electricity in the halls. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa 

By Patience Ahimbisibwe

Posted  Friday, December 6   2013 at  02:00
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Kampala- Makerere University students have complained of poor sanitation which they claim has aided the breeding of bedbugs in halls of residence.

Students residing in the halls told the Daily Monitor yesterday that the bedbugs had spread to almost every room.

A first year student in Lumumba Hall, who only identified himself as Peter, said he could hardly rest at night because of the parasitic insects.

“We have bedbugs in Lumumba Hall. They [authorities] told us they had sprayed but there are no signs. Life is becoming hard. My friends from other halls are also complaining of the same. This is not what I had expected from a university,” he said.

The guild president, Ms Anna Adeke Ebaju, who resides in Africa Hall, acknowledged that there were bedbugs but added: We have sprayed countless times to no avail. When students return from their holidays, they bring back property that is not sprayed.”

A notice pinned up by authorities yesterday urged students with bedbugs in their rooms to report the matter to the wardens so that the rooms are fumigated.
Concerns over of poor hygiene in the halls of residence were first raised during celebrations to mark 20 years since the university started the private scheme last month.

This newspaper also observed that many flash toilets have long broken down.
According to the private students under their umbrella grouping Makerere University Private Students Association (MUPSA), there has been poor service delivery affecting their stay at the country’s oldest institution of higher learning.
Mr Onesmus Muwanga, the MUPSA president, in an interview said the environment does not favour studies and appealed to the government to support them.
“Students now move to neighbouring supermarkets to use their washrooms. It is that bad. Electricity is on and off, the toilets are in poor state, no internet, lecturers are absent,” Mr Muwanga said.

The dean of students, Mr Cyriaco Kabagambe, acknowledged that there were “sanitation concerns” at the university that needed to be remedied but assured students that management was working on them.

Mr Kabagambe admitted that the university did not have water and electricity at the beginning of the semester but denied allegations that it was as a result of debts.
He asked the students to use the utilities sparingly.

pahimbisibwe@ug.nationmedia.com