DUBAI: More than 1,500 people signed up to the first Walk the Talk event in the Middle East, held at Expo 2020 Dubai to launch a global 24-hour global walkathon in celebration of frontline healthcare workers and better health for everyone on United Nations’ International Universal Health Coverage Day.
A collaboration between Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Walk the Talk gathered frontline workers of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, together with their families, to walk in solidarity with global health leaders.
Making a statement that everyone should have access to the care they need, when they need it, participants were encouraged to sign up to the Steppi app so that every step taken around the world as part of the initiative is counted towards the global 5 million-step target.
Welcoming attendees, who included Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, His Excellency Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, UAE Assistant Undersecretary, Ministry of Health and Prevention, highlighted the event as a catalyst in the global health movement for all: “This pandemic has made us more aware of our strengths and vulnerabilities. We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation to all the frontline heroes working in the health sector and private facilities as well as the individuals who have devoted their lives to contain this pandemic… Let us work together to have good health and wellbeing for all. Let us face the future together.”
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO said, “I would like to thank the government and people of the UAE for hosting the celebrations as part of Expo 2020. Earlier this year, I had the honour of attending the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games of Tokyo. Like Expo 2020, Tokyo 2020 was postponed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And like the Olympic Games, Expo 2020 is a symbol and demonstration of human ingenuity, resilience, and excellence. We need those same qualities, as we respond to, and recover from this pandemic.”
Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean, WHO, said, “Today is a day of great celebrations and reflection, and specifically of what WHO is doing when it comes to making sure that health is the right of everyone on Earth, regardless of their social level, location, position, education level, gender. You name it: Health is the right of everyone.”
Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Co-chair, UHC2030 Steering Committee, said, “This is just an example of how we can make a significant change if we work together. We need more people benefiting from access to universal health coverage. We need people to be protected from health emergencies. We need to be very ambitious at a very complicated time. This pandemic has shown us the cruelty that it is only about the money that decides who lives and who dies. Health is not a privilege: health is a human right.”
Source: Expo 2020 Website