Midlands State University’s Health Services Department hosted delegates from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Students And Youths Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT), MSASA Project and Ministry of Health and Child Care on Tuesday 23 February 2016.

The delegates were at the University as part of a Gweru field visit for an Integrated Support Programme (ISP) for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Prevention of HIV and Gender Based Violence. The programme is funded by the Governments of Britain, Sweden and Ireland, and coordinated nationally by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, which also oversees the programme’s implementation.

Led by the Midlands State University, Acting Director of Health Services, Mr Shoko, the delegation toured the University’s Youth Friendly Centre where they were particularly interested in learning more about the activities and services offered to students. Members were pleased to learn that the Centre, which is manned by peer educators and members of SAYWHAT, provides students with access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services as well as information on gender based violence and other related issues, in line with the Integrated Support Programme. Some of the services provided include counselling, literature on common problems faced by youths and support networks. The youth friendly services have proved to be quite popular with students as they can easily relate with peer educators and other colleagues.

After touring the Youth Friendly Centre and having been impressed by the University’s efforts in promoting sexual and reproductive health among students, SIDA pledged to renovate the centre to incorporate a games section so as to fully occupy students outside the lecture rooms.

Apart from touring the Youth Friendly Centre, delegates were also taken around the University clinic and had a chance to meet with nurses from Population Services International (PSI) who are assisting with male circumcision at the clinic.

In his closing remarks, the Acting Director of Health Services advised delegates that the University was happy to partner with organisations who had an interest in the welfare of students. ‘On behalf of MSU, we would like to express our gratitude for the interest you have shown in our institution. We are a stakeholder-driven institution and it is through partnerships with organizations such as yours that we are able to achieve our objectives. We welcome feedback and any form of contribution that you think will assist us in producing a responsible graduate,’ said Mr Shoko.

Speaking at the end of the visit, the Dean of Students, Mr A Chaka also commended the delegation for partnering with the institution, noting that their support would go some way in helping to mould an ideal, all-rounded graduate that MSU seeks to produce.

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