Chisipite High School student Vanessa Hodza flew high the Zimbabwean flag high last month when she won first prize in the home nursing individual test category at the St John International Cadet Championships in Hong Kong.
The aim of the global contest is to test first aid cadets from across the globe on various emergency drills and scenarios that require use of clinical skills, team work, patient care, communication, and problem solving.
This year was the first time that Zimbabwe has participated in the international showcase. The country was represented by a seven-member team made up of students from Chisipite and Dominican Convent high schools. The team competed in groups, pairs and individual tests in the categories of first aid, home nursing, foot drills and presentations.
Other countries in competition were Canada, Malaysia, Wales, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, England and South Africa. The overall winners of the contest were New Zealand followed by Australia and Canada with Zimbabwe coming 10th out of the 11 team table.
17-year-old Hodza, who was Zimbabwe’s best performer in the competition, said that in addition to coming first in the home nursing individual test, her biggest accomplishment was being chosen to represent her country.
“I got into first aid while I was still in form one and it has had a positive impact on my life and the people around me as they can feel safe that there is someone who can help them in a time of need. I was actually overjoyed to be chosen to represent my country, my school and St John Ambulance Zimbabwe,” said Hodza.
Hodza who is in upper six and studying Fashion, Business Studies and Accounting, surprisingly revealed that despite her victory in the first aid competition, she does not have any plans to pursue a career in any medical field in the future. Instead, she wants to pursue fashion, business and charity work.
But she added, “I would also like to continue with first aid through training others because it is an important skill in life. I encourage other people to also go for first aid training because being able to save a life is an important commodity in someone else’s life,” said Hodza.
Tatenda Makaha the project officer for St John Ambulance who trains local cadets from more than 50 schools in Harare and many others from around the country, said that his organisation was impressed with the country’s participation at the international cadet competitions.
“We hold local cadet competitions annually, and when an opportunity arose for the cadets to take part in an international contest we then looked for schools that could afford to send their students. This year was our first time participating in the world cadet competitions and we are happy that we managed to win something,” said Makaha.
Makaha said that his organisation had already put in place plans to raise funds and train cadets for the 2018 competition that will be held in Malaysia and for the 2020 contest that will take place in South Africa. The international competition was previously held every three to four years but will now be held every two years.