COVID-19: WHO, IOC partner on “healthy together”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), have launched a partnership to encourage individuals and communities around the world to be #HEALTHYTogether.

WHO, in a statement issued from its headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday, stated that the three partners and Olympic athletes would spotlight the global collaboration needed to stay healthy.

It stated that the collaboration of the three partners would reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Olympic athletes will help deliver important public health information, to inspire people to adopt or continue behaviours that will curtail the pandemic and provide information that promotes physical and mental health.

“The partnership kicks off today with Olympians around the world showcasing various exercises to stay healthy during this time.

“A WHO survey showed that many people who had severe COVID-19 disease were already living with or at risk for non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

“The results emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle including being physically active, having a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol.’’

The statement quoted Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO, as saying: “We are pleased to partner with the International Olympic Committee to spread important health messages that will save lives.

“Olympians will help us advocate for healthier populations to ensure that people are as resilient as our health systems must be to fight COVID-19.”

According to the agency, over the past six months, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every corner of the globe and every aspect of people‘s lives.

“The world is looking for global institutions to work together and for leaders to deliver reliable, credible information from sources they trust.

“Olympic athletes are symbols of strength that can act as trusted messengers for this information,” it said.

The statement quoted IOC President, Thomas Bach, as saying, “Sport can save lives. We have seen over the last few months just how important sport and physical activity are for health and well-being.

“Working together with the WHO and the United Nations, we can take another step together. We will ask our Olympic athletes to help share the information and best practice that the world needs now.”

The statement also quoted António Guterres, Secretary-General of UN, as saying, “During this time of unprecedented challenges and change — from the COVID-19 pandemic to the ongoing struggle for racial and social justice, to the climate crisis — there has never been a greater need for global solidarity and hope.

“The Olympic movement and its athletes have always brought out the best in humanity, and the United Nations is pleased to work with the International Olympic Committee and the WHO in calling on people everywhere to unite and be HEALTHYTogether.”

According to the statement, the global partnership will act locally, through the voices of Olympic athletes – voices that symbolise perseverance, dedication and endurance – qualities all individuals need during this public health challenge.

“WHO will work with athletes to bring tailored health messages to people who are living through various stages of the pandemic through digital platforms.

“As COVID-19 forces changed to our daily routines and lives – from how we interact with others to how we move and exercise – we need to pay attention to our own mental and physical health and help others who may need extra support.

“By working together, the aim of the partnership on Olympic Day and every day is to stay Healthy Together.’’

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