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Student Health Center needs help helping us

The VSU Student Health Center has been as much a part of the problem as part of the solution. Students have complained about how they have been trying to schedule appointments throughout this semester only to be wait-listed. And their complaints are justified.
After all, students paid $127 to receive a basic level of medical care on campus this semester. “Come back in four days” just doesn’t cut it. Especially in the midst of a nationwide Swine Flu craze. After four days of suffering, the symptoms have intensified or calmed down… either way administering medication at this point is not as helpful as it should have been. According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of H1N1 flu cases generally takes 2 to 4 days to double in size.
Students are advised to visit nearby clinics for timely medication and treatment. They then have to pay for services that would have otherwise been free. With insurance, students get away with a modest co pay. However, uninsured students can expect to shell out over $100. Our pockets have already been emptied by the recession, tuition, and hours missed from work due to the flu.
Contagious, attendance-contentious students come to class to avoid grade penalties and pass the germs onto classmates. This in turn puts additional stress on the already overwhelmed SHC staff. The vicious cycle only perpetuates itself.
We understand that the health services, actually every department on campus, have been affected by the economy. Clearly the current staff is too small (one physician and two nurse practitioners) to meet the needs of our student body (just over 12,000 students); especially during the flu season which started early this year and is only getting worse. The worst part about the medical care on campus is that the huge building, with several empty, unused rooms seems to be mocking the hacking masses with all of its potential capacity.
What’s to be done? Perhaps the students will just have to beef up their immune systems if the university cannot beef up the medical staff.
The best the student body can do is attempt to respect each other’s health concerns. If you have to go to class sick, arm yourself with tissues and hand sanitizer. Sick students can quarantine themselves to the corners of classrooms when attendance is necessary.

This editorial was written by Francesca Zagami (frzagami@valdosta.edu) and it expresses the opinion of the entire editorial staff.

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