World Health Day 2010

A walkathon by United Nations Association of Maharashtra (MUNA), a local NGO, affiliated to Indian Federation of United Nations Association (IFUNA), which in turn is affiliated to World Federation of United Nations Association (WFUNA), was organized on Marine Drive starting at 7am on Sunday 11th April 2010 along with newly formed MUNA-Youth Wing.

At the registration desk, we had around 300 participants in all; about 150 school and university students, mainly from Bai Kabibai School, Anjuman English School, Colaba Municipal School, a part of Bhavishya Yaan: a project of Rotary Club of Bombay, Vidya and SIFE -HRC, students from SNDT University, various NGOs from SAGE Foundation, Members from Zonta Club and the rest included eminent personalities and citizens from all walks of life. The Chief Guest was Mr. Swadin S. Kshatriya, the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai, Guest of Honour for the day being Ms. Indu Shahani, the Sheriff of Mumbai.

At 7am sharp, both the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai Mr. Swadin S. Kshatriya and the Sheriff of Mumbai Ms. Indu Shahani jointly flagged the walkathon with a lot of fanfare against the backdrop of music from the guitar and the beating of the drums. A special boat with a banner of ‘MUNA Walkathon’ designed for the occasion synchronized sailing along the sea coast to the Islam Gymkhana. Besides the walkers, there were cyclists and children on roller skates. The participants carried banners highlighting the theme of World Health Day 2010: “Impact of Urbanization on Health”. Midway, there was a halt on the Marine Drive promenade, where the students of Mumbai University enacted three street plays: “Clean Mumbai-Green Mumbai” on segregation of dry and wet garbage and using the vermiculture produce for growing the trees in the metropolis; a poster-cum-dance skit on “Health and Nutrition” depicting the importance of natural foods like walnuts, figs, carrots, tomatoes, olives, avocados, onions, garlic, kidney beans, grapes and oranges for the proper function of different organs in the human body and finally “Six Healthy Ways to prevent Cardio-respiratory Diseases and Diabetes Mellitus- no smoking, reduce salt intake, eat natural fiber rich food avoiding junk food, watch your waist line, proper 8- hour sleep, and regular walk and exercise. The enacting students received a grand ovation from one and all in the crowd. At this juncture, the Chief Guest and Guest of Honor endorsed the theme of the day along with their remarks “Eat healthy-live healthy” and “Live a healthy life, walk at least 30 minutes every morning”. In fact, this was the first peaceful walk on the occasion of the World Health Day 2010 in Mumbai as the participants trotted along in yellow caps and badges and white tee shirts to the Islam Gymkhana with the cool breeze from the blue Arabian Sea and a bright red sun above, a colorful visual delight to all.

At 8am, the events at Islam Gymkhana started with the endorsement of the WHO theme 2010 by Mrs. Maya Shahani, SAGE Foundation, our Guest of Honor, RJ Neil of Red-FM and Mr. Mohan Jhangiani, an ardent supporter of MUNA who came dressed like Mahatma Gandhi for the peaceful march. In the luscious lawns of the Gymkhana, were ‘Slogan Competition’ and ‘Picture Perception’ for all the students. The best student’s slogan was ‘Paryavarnala Aai sarkha Zapa ani mula sarkha pala’. (Environment should be nurtured with constant love and attention like a mother and child)  The best picture perception slogan was ‘Dandi march got us freedom from the britz; morning walk would get us freedom from couch potatoes.’ This was followed by a song “Give me some sunshine, give me some rain”, a popular song from the Indian film ‘3 Idiots’ depicting music as a de-stressing method when the entire audience joined in chorus in the melody. This was followed by another on the keyboard by the youth of Mumbai University. All the participants in the walkathon were presented with certificates of participation. There was a ‘Health Exhibition’ on food and nutrition, balanced diet, save water, water harvesting, garbage segregation and cleanliness. Simultaneously, there was free health check up camp on diabetes and blood pressure. Many in the audience partook of this. There was healthy food packet distribution for all the participants. The program concluded with a vote of thanks to all the Guests, Guests of Honor, all the sponsors and supporters to the cause of MUNA, Mumbai traffic police, media both print and electronic, staff and members of Islam Gymkhana, MUNA members, MUNA youth and all the participants. This was followed by the playing of the National Anthem.