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World Health Organization Supported Installation of Open Gym for Public in F-9 Park under Healthy City Programme Islamabad

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Dr Palitha Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan, at the inauguration of the Open Gymnasium said, “Non-communicable diseases (NCD) kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally. Cardiovascular (Heart) diseases account for most NCD deaths followed by cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes. In Pakistan NCD burden is rapidly increasing and more than 60% deaths are due to these diseases (Pakistan data for disease burden 2017). Physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and tobacco use increase the risk of dying from NCDs. WHO, under its Healthy City Program, is promoting healthy life style and physical activity.

Mr. Sheikh Anser Aziz, Honourable Mayor of Islamabad, declared open the ‘Open Gymnasium’ at the Fatima Jinnah Park (Sector F-9) in the presence of Dr Palitha Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan, WHO Staff, Staff of Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and a large number of public. World Health Organization Pakistan installed Open Gym and Fitness Centre for Public in F-9 Park Islamabad under Healthy City Programme to promote healthy life style and physical activity.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sheikh Anser Aziz, Honourable Mayor of Islamabad appreciated WHO support for making Islamabad a healthy city in near future. “We are committed to address health challenges and well- being of our citizens here in Islamabad. Our priorities are to set example of this city through improving all socio-economic, health and environmental indicators under initiatives like Healthy City programme so that it could be followed by other cities in Pakistan. The road map of the programme would be dedicatedly achieved with the valuable technical support of partners like WHO so that the city could get the status of healthy city in next coming years.”

Healthy City Programme is one of the important initiatives to address challenges of community’s health. The programme was initiated in 2017 with the registration of Islamabad city into Global Healthy City Network by WHO. Healthy City Programme Islamabad is the joint initiative of WHO and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) in collaboration with Directorate of Health, MCI. The programme is being implemented in Islamabad (city and slums) while expanding the scope to ICT areas through recent alignment with ICT Health Model. This open gym would increase promotion of physical activity and well-being of public in Islamabad. WHO Pakistan is committed to support Government of Pakistan for Universal Health Coverage, health promotion and protection under its various initiatives.

Closing the ceremony, Dr. Hassan Orooj, Director General Health MCI, thanked WHO for their support and appreciated leadership of Dr Palitha Mahipala for moving health and wellbeing agenda forward in Pakistan. Dr Orooj said “Healthy City Programme Islamabad is a first drop towards achieving community health and well-being and addressing risks of communicable and non- communicable diseases here in the city. This platform would further enhance healthier citizens through enhancing their human potential”.

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