High school students research health issues

The Challenge: high school students create posters for inaugural WCMC-Q competition

Judges have chosen their favorite posters created by high school students in a competition aimed at raising awareness of the most pressing health issues facing Qatar.

The poster competition is one half of The Challenge – a contest run by WCMC-Q -to encourage young people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Students were asked to create posters that addressed one of six health issues from a list comprising obesity, diabetes, road traffic injuries, nutrition, physical activity and smoking.

The three judges – Dr. Sallam Sharab, senior health educator at the Supreme Council of Health, Dr. Khaled Machaca, associate dean for research at WCMC-Q and Dr. Sohaila Cheema, manager of the global and public health division at WCMC-Q – met at the university on Thursday March 7 to evaluate the posters.

Dr. Sharab was impressed by what he saw. He said: “It is clear from the posters that the students have put a lot of effort into preparing them. The information they are conveying has been well researched and in the best cases it has been presented with skill and imagination.

“The important thing is that the students have engaged with these issues and we hope that this means they will absorb the message about protecting their own health and adopt the positive behaviors they are advocating in their posters. Students have also engaged their parents and teachers in the project so the message of the campaign is reaching a wider audience – we must all think about our health and our lifestyle choices.”

A total of 15 schools from across Qatar are participating in The Challenge, representing both the Qatari and the expatriate community. The Challenge is part of WCMC-Q’s ongoing public health campaign, Sahtak Awalan – Your Health First, a five-year initiative supported by the university’s strategic partners, the Supreme Council of Health, the Supreme Education Council, Qatar Petroleum, Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd, ExxonMobil and Vodafone Qatar, and aimed at achieving the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030.

Dr. Khaled Machaca emphasized the importance of communicating health advice to students.

He said: “It is critical to engage with students about their health because these messages will stay with them forever. If we teach our young people how to look after themselves at an early age we give them the chance to adopt healthy habits that can stay with them for life.

“The posters I enjoyed the most were those that showed imagination and creativity in the way they communicated their messages. Combining this with accurate and useful information showed that the students had really thought about the issues and worked hard to come up with original ways to encourage their audience to think about changing their lifestyles for the better.”

The results of the poster competition will be announced at the second and final part of The Challenge on Saturday March 16, when teams representing each participating school will take part in a series of fun physical challenges at the Aspire Zone to find the first winners of The Challenge Trophy.