Over 2000 people trek 8 km to advocate for prevention of NCDs

Friday, August 31, 2018

More than eight hundred people from all walks of life took part in an 8km Health walk to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation.

The event was held in Dakar, Senegal on Sunday 26 August on the eve of the 68th session of WHO Regional Committee, which is the annual meeting of Ministers of Health from the WHO African Region.

Organised by the Ministry of Health and Social Action of Senegal and the World Health Organisation, the aim of the Health Walk was threefolds; to raise awareness and profile of the work and goals of WHO and the Senegalese Minister of Health and Social Action; to engage Regional Committee delegates, and residents of Dakar in a celebration of WHO’s 70th birthday and to participate in the global movement to promote health and particularly physical activity as part of a healthy sustainable future.

The event was open to people of all ages and it attracted Ministers of Health from other African countries, delegates of the Regional Committee, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, staff of the Ministry of Health officers and personnel of the various security agencies.

The walk, titled “Walk the Talk” began and ended at the Place de l‘Obelix with the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa and Senegalese Minister of Health and Social Action, Mr Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr stressing the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Speaking to a jampacked crowd at the Place de l‘Obelix, DrTedros said: “I would like to thank Senegal for hosting the Regional Committee and for organizing this event. Physical activity is important to beat non-communicable diseases (NCDs). We expect and hope that Senegal will continue to make it a nation-wide wide movement.”

He called on other Ministers of Health taking part in the walk to organize similar health walks in their respective countries.

Senegalese Minister of Health and Social Action, DrAbdoulayeDiouf Sarr said: “I would ask all Senegalese to make walking part of their daily routine. Today in Senegal, there is this tradition of walking which has become an institution”.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti drew attention to the rising problem of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes which pose a serious threat to human health and development.

“If nothing is done, Africa’s development and the future of its daughters and sons will be compromised. I encourage you to make regular physical activity a daily routine and urge you to educate your families and friends to protect themselves by adopting the prevention methods and advice given by health professionals. WHO remains committed to helping you in this area,” she said.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa was established nearly seventy years ago. The 70th anniversary of WHO in 2018 is an opportunity to mark the achievements of the past 70 years in health. This event is part of a series of activities taking place across the world.

The Hon. Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Isatou Touray appealed to everyone in The Gambia to be actively involved in physical exercise, reduce excessive salt intake, and reduce the consumption of unhealthy diets (sugary or fatty foods), tobacco and alcohol as they form the majority of the risk factors to NCDs such as cancers, diabetes, hypertension and chronic respiratory diseases.

“The Government of The Gambia is committed to fighting NCDs as they pose a huge burden on the health of the population” said Dr. Isatou Touray.

 By: Modou Njai, Director of Health Promotion and Education, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare