The Midlands State University was the winner of this year’s National Universities Quiz Challenge proudly hosted by the Students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) with support from the Embassy of Sweden in Zimbabwe.
The universities quiz challenge – dubbed the UniQ Challenge – was held on Monday and Tuesday the 14th and the 15th of September 2020 and broadcasted live on the Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN) and SAYWHAT Facebook Pages.
The winning team walked away with a trophy that had been in the custody of Harare Institute of Technology who won in the inaugural Best of the Universities Quiz Challenge last year. They also walked away prizes inclusive of gold medals.
10 State Universities participated in the competition which are the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences (MSUAS), Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE), Midlands State University (MSU), Gwanda State University (GSU), Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Lupane State University (LSU), Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) and Great Zimbabwe University (GZU).
LSU and CUT lost the battle for the trophy in the first round while MSUAS and GZU could not make it to the semi-finals where six teams remained in the challenge.
UZ, BUSE and HIT lost in the semi-finals resulting GSU, NUST and MSU clashing for the trophy in the grand finale which saw the latter scooping the first prize.
In his remarks, SAYWHAT Executive Director Jimmy Wilford said the objectives of the Quiz Challenge were to allow the organisation to analyse the cognitive abilities of students in retrieving Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and health information – an objective which he described as fundamental for the organisation to recognise gaps in SRH and Gender Based Violence (GBV) teaching methodologies.
“The quiz competition will serve the purpose of transferring accurate information on communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as general health rights and information.
“It will be specific in providing information on the COVID-19 and its impact for young people’s access to health and education,” he said.
Embassy of Sweden Deputy Head of Mission Ms Malin Krook said they were proud to partner with SAYWHAT for the sole purpose of mobilising young minds and voices as a strategic investment for sustainable development.
“Sweden acknowledges that there can be no valid or effective health response in Zimbabwe without the inclusion of the young people in their diversity.
“To achieve vision 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – to leave no one behind – it is imperative that the health needs of young people be adequately addressed,” she said.
Added Ms Krook: “I represent a Government which is very strong about equal rights and opportunities. This is part of our Feminist Foreign Policy, as well as our current Drive for Democracy. It is our hope that by continuing working together, we can turn our commitment into action – action that can be seen and felt in the lives of every Zimbabwean, especially young people.”
The 2020 edition of the Universities Quiz Challenge ran under the theme, SRH and COVID-19: An Era of Double Barrelled Action. The thrust of the theme was to bring to the surface the need for integrated public health response systems which can detect early and efficiently respond to public health emergencies. One of the key features of public health responses systems in Africa are the glaring gaps in preparedness to respond to public health emergencies. The global COVID-19 pandemic has again exposed that reality with most non-clinical health activities being halted or scaled down and the general citizenry not being provided with adequate risk and exposure information on COVID-19.
The UniQ Challenge was composed of questions ranging from the categories of family planning and contraception; STIs, HIV/AIDS, GBV as well as drug and substance abuse. Questions on sexual exploitation and abuse; abortion care services; COVID-19, malaria, tuberculosis, and cancers of the reproductive system; and climate change and environment also formed part of the quiz.