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Walk the Talk: WHO stages marathon to celebrate 70th anniversary

  • Published at 07:36 pm May 20th, 2018
  • Last updated at 09:39 pm May 20th, 2018
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Participants at World Health Organization's 'Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge' in Geneva, Switzerland on Sunday, May 20, 2018 Afrose Jahan Chaity/Dhaka Tribune

The event was aimed at raising awareness about the importance of physical activities to maintain a healthy lifestyle

As part of its 70th anniversary celebrations, the World Health Organization (WHO) held an eight-kilometre walk and run event in Geneva, Switzerland on Sunday to launch a global movement to promote fitness and an active lifestyle on the eve of the 71st World Health Assembly. 

Thousands of people, including delegates of the World Health Assembly, members of the United Nations family, and the local community of Geneva, took part in this event to raise awareness and the profile of the work and goals of WHO and other global health agencies based in Geneva, highlighting the city’s role as a global health capital in improving global health.

The walk and run event, titled “Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge,” began in front of the Place des Nations – in the heart of Geneva's international district – and was held over three distances:  short distance – 3km, medium distance – 5km, and long distance – 8km.

Shameem Ahsan, ambassador and permanent representative of Bangladesh to the UN agencies in Geneva, also participated in the event. 

Shameem Ahsan, ambassador and permanent representative of Bangladesh at UN offices in Geneva, speaks at World Health Organization's 'Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge' in Geneva, Switzerland on Sunday, May 20, 2018 Afrose Jahan Chaity/Dhaka Tribune

“This kind of event is perhaps taking place for the first time in Geneva. I hope this initiative is only the beginning. So walk the talk, WHO, we are with you," he said.

Addressing the event, WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged everyone not to abuse alcohol and not to smoke in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

He also stressed the importance of physical activity to fight against non-communicable diseases, which is a global challenge.

“Being physically active is one of the most important ways to stay healthy and prevent diseases,” he said. 

He further said having Haile Gebrselassie, Olympic runner and a world record holder in long-distance running, join the “Walk the Talk” sent a powerful message about the role that physical activities can play for people to improve their health.    

Taking the stage, Gebrselassie said: “Being physically active is essential for good health. People do not need to be Olympians or athletes to enjoy the many benefits of being physically active. In our daily lives, we should move for health in any way we can so we can be healthier and better able to enjoy our lives.”