MoH host Essay Competition Awards Ceremony

1-64941742-5ccd-4583-ab51-15d56f8cadc1The Ministry of Health, through the Health Promotion Education Division, hosted an awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of students who answered the call to submit essays and exceeded expectations.

The award ceremony, held at the Cresta President Hotel in Gaborone on the 17th of June, was to honour the 23 students whose submissions were recognized as the best among the 232 entries that were received in the course of the National Essay Competition on the "Social Determinants of Health." The Assistant Minister of Health, Dr Alfred Madigele, officiated at the event which was attended by various stakeholders including representatives from the World Health Organization, as well as the Ministry of Education, Skills and Development.

The essay competition, which was open to secondary schools across Botswana, attracted 232 participants from 23 schools. Of the entrants, 27 students were honoured at the award ceremony for the exceptional quality of their work.

The prizes for the winners included a combination of tablets, hard drives and certificates for 3rd place; laptops, hard drives and certificates for 2nd place; and a laptop, printer, and hard drive for the ultimate winner. Prizes were organized in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Skills and Development, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) country office in Botswana.

In addition to the personal prizes given to the winning entries, the winning schools also received prizes in recognition of their students.
To show the intensity of competition, four students shared the number three spot, while 2 were tied for second place. The pool of winners consisted of students from across the country, with first place going to Kabelo Wame from Lotsane Senior Secondary School, who walked away with a laptop, printer and hard drive, as well as a certificate and trophy.

According to Susan Makgothi, CEO of the Botswana Examinations Council, BEC facilitated the assessment and adjudication of the essays. Regarding the criteria and selection process used to determine the best essays the essays were sifted for the relevance of the responses in addition to the general mechanics of the English language. The winning essays were chosen because they showed writing from experience, as opposed to being reproductions of existing texts.

Dr Martine Ovberedjo, a representative from the World Health Organization, lauded Botswana's efforts towards healthcare as well as the Ministry's endeavours toward promoting awareness around health issues. He called on all youth to see themselves as agents of change.
"Botswana can be regarded as a global leader," he said, reflecting on the 50 year landmark that the country celebrates this year and the milestones the it has achieved since independence.

The Director of Public Health, Ms Veronica Leburu, said that the event was a landmark ceremony celebrating success as well as the awareness created around the determinants of health.

"This is an august occasion," she said.

In his official remarks, Dr Madigele, in noting the efforts of the students, said that educational attainment is linked with health. He observed the ongoing paradigm shift from curative to preventative health measures, stating the essay competition was geared towards facilitating dialogue on the various social determinants of health that exist. "We can no longer afford to just cure diseases when we can do all that we can to prevent them," Madigele said.

Concluding the auspicious occasion, the Acting Permanent Secretary for Basic Education and Regional Operations at the MoESD Sir Wonder Masebola, drew attention to the importance of recognizing that health matters surrounding health permeate through and affect all sectors.
"I want to congratulate the Ministry of Health sincerely on behalf of my ministry," he said.

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