Thousands join 3rd WHO Walk the Talk in Geneva – World Health Organization

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The 3rd edition of “Walk the Talk: The Health Challenge for All” event held in Geneva took place on Sunday 22 May, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and supported by partners including the Ministry of public Health of Qatar, the Confederation of Switzerland, and the Canton and City of Geneva.

The event, held on the eve of the 75th World Health Assembly, encouraged people to move for their health, in Geneva and elsewhere around the world.

The Place des Nations in Geneva woke up this Sunday morning at 7.45 am with numerous activities such as a dance initiation and a warm-up session as well as the opening ceremony of this 3rd edition in Geneva. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, officially launched the event, saying: “Thank you for taking part in today’s Walk The Talk: The Health Challenge for All. My thanks to the Canton and City of Geneva for hosting us today. We are very fortunate that here in Switzerland we have access to vaccine and to high quality health care. But as you know, not everyone around the world is so fortunate. The pandemic has told the world a valuable lesson, that health is the most precious commodity on Earth.” 

The WHO Director General concluded his speech with a smile: ”Walk The Talk should be a daily event for everyone.”

Leading off the start of the 3km and 4.2km courses was Geneva-based Swiss marathon champion Tadesse Abraham, who was joined by members of The Human Safety Net Refugee Team of Runners and Oscar Roman Acosta, former Argentinian and Geneve Servette football champion and FIFA Legend. During the event, Tadesse said: “It’s really a pleasure to see so much people move. I think it’s clear how important sport is, we saw it during COVID  time, everybody did some sport. It is very important for our health to integrate sport into our lives.” 

Dr Tedros awarded 2022 Health Champion awards to two special guests, the First Lady of Croatia, Professor Dr Sanja Musić Milanović, and to Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, the Minister of Public Health of Qatar.

Some 4963 people registered to participate in the event, including one walker, Marie, who expressed her enthusiasm by saying, ”It was great to be able to relive this event. There’s no pressure, no timer. You do physical activity as a group just to have a good time.”

Yoga classes were also given, and demonstrations of Australian football by Swiss champions the Geneva Jets were available with African music in front of the WHO buildings. All these free activities were aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle.

The event was not limited to Geneva as the 3km and 4.2km routes were also offered from anywhere in the world using a dedicated mobile application. This allowed participants to run the distance over the course of their choice. Along the way, they received audio messages motivating them to complete the challenge.

In total, more than 1’800 uses of the app were made on Sunday 22 May, a format that is proving its worth and helping people to move for their health.

The World Health Organization would like to congratulate all those who participated. It would also like to thank all the volunteers of the Staff Association who worked to make the event a success, as well as the competent authorities of the City and Canton of Geneva, without whom nothing would be possible.

The next WHO project is linked to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The project entitled Healthy FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 aims to ensure that this year’s football tournament in Doha is organized with a focus on health and safety and to ensure that it leaves a legacy by becoming a landmark and sustainable model that promotes the consideration of health, safety and well-being in future major sporting events.
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