Suriname, May 22, 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – This year, the Walk the Talk: Health for All Challenge returned to Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday, May 21, 2023, to kickstart the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly. However, the impact of this global initiative extended far beyond the borders of Switzerland. The Ministry of Health in Suriname organized its own Walk the Talk event in alignment with the objectives of the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly, joining hands with the UN family, Member States, and health partners.
Suriname's Walk the Talk Challenge served as a testament to the country's commitment to promoting physical and mental health within its local community. The Ministry of Health and PAHO/WHO Suriname worked together to provide an impressive challenge that highlighted unity and the welfare of the people of Suriname.
The Challenge took place at the Safe Exercise Area, a dedicated space closed off to motor vehicles every Sunday from 8 am to 10 am. This carefully selected location provided an ideal setting for participants to engage in physical activity and prioritize their health. Suriname's commitment to creating a safe and conducive environment for the challenge reflected its dedication to fostering a culture of well-being and unity.
For this year’s challenge, we have chosen to emphasize the importance of movement by organizing this walk. This challenge sends a strong message about the significance of adopting a healthy lifestyle and integrating regular movement into our daily routines. By embracing an active lifestyle, we can prevent major causes of mortality such as obesity and diabetes. It is crucial to consistently incorporate movement into our lives." - Minister of Health Dr. Amar Ramadin
To further encourage participation and motivate individuals, the first 100 participants of the Walk the Talk Challenge received a complimentary t-shirt. This exclusive offer added an element of excitement and served as a symbol of their commitment to the objectives of the challenge. Participants proudly wore their t-shirts, showcasing their dedication to a healthier Surinamese society.
To kickstart the challenge energetically, participants engaged in a dynamic warm-up session. This routine prepared their bodies for the upcoming physical activities and created a sense of togetherness among the attendees. This inspired and prepared everyone to fully participate in the Walk the Talk Challenge, highlighting the significance of being physically prepared and promoting an active lifestyle.
The participants in the challenge were very diverse, consisting of health professionals, families with young kids, moms with strollers, runners, and also young individuals. A particular group worth mentioning was a group of medical students who actively took part in the challenge. One of the young medical students excitedly stated, "We saw this challenge on Facebook, and it appealed to us to not only participate in a good lifestyle with words but also participate physically.” They also added, “Normally, we go swimming together, but today instead of swimming we came here to exercise together in order to keep fit and set a good example for our families and peers.”
Many times, we find ourselves talking without taking action, but movement is fundamental for maintaining a healthy physical and mental balance. I believe we should organize events like this more frequently to encourage everyone to embrace an active lifestyle. As health-conscious individuals, we often encourage others to move, but it's equally important for us to lead by example. I'm delighted to see that Medical Mission is actively participating today with a group of over 40 individuals." - Medical Mission Director Mr. Herman Jintie
In conclusion, the Walk the Talk event in Suriname, held at the Safe Exercise Area, provided participants with a unique opportunity to prioritize their health and well-being. The distribution of complimentary t-shirts, impactful speeches by key figures in the health sector, and the 3km or 4.2km walk/run challenge inspired individuals to embrace an active lifestyle and underscored the significance of community support in promoting a healthier Surinamese society.