Geneva, 19 May 2019 (PAHO/WHO) – Braving gray and sometimes rainy skies, but determined to participate in walks, races, and other physical activities, hundreds of people congregated today in the Place des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, under the slogan "Walk the Talk: the Health for All Challenge."
These activities, organized for the second consecutive year by the World Health Organization (WHO), brought together sports celebrities and key people in community and health promotion initiatives around the world.
The Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, led the walk/race accompanied by several public figures, including the First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta, and the marathon runner from Kenya, Mary Keitany. Also joining in was Cynthia Germanotta, a mental health advocate who co-founded the Born This Way Foundation with her daughter, Lady Gaga.
Delegations from the countries of the Americas and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) actively participated throughout the event.
Joining Dr. Tedros, the princess of Jordan, Dina Mired, and the artist Zoleka Mandela at the podium, Ecuador’s Minister of Health Verónica Espinosa emphasized the role that women and female health workers play in achieving health for all. “In the majority of our countries, women constitute the largest workforce. We must recognize this and give them a strong voice. They have a lot to say about how to achieve health for all,” she stressed.
PAHO had an interactive booth in the main plaza, where hundreds of people could test their balancing, jumping, and hula-hooping skills and do pre-race warmups. Paraguay’s Minister of Health, Julio Mazzoleni, stopped by prior to competing in the 5K segment of the race and demonstrated his skills with a soccer ball. Representatives of other delegations from the Region visited the PAHO booth to participate in the activities.