Accra, March 10, GNA - Hundreds of pupils from selected first cycle institutions in Accra on Friday embarked on a three-hour fitness walk to commence activities marking the 2006 Commonwealth week on the theme, "Health and Vitality - The Commonwealth Challenge".
Joined by the High Commissioners of Britain and Australia, the pupils walked from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) Club House in Kanda, through the 37 Military Hospital, the South Liberation Link at Opeibea House to the El-Wak Sports Stadium.
In a short speech, Nana Oye Lithur, Regional Coordinator of the Africa Office of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, noted that fitness and vitality were essential to ensuring a healthy population. She said science confirmed with overwhelming evidence that people who led active lifestyles lived longer and were less likely to experience major illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.
Mr Jonathan Richardson, Australian High Commissioner, said it was necessary for people all over the world to have access to good food, clean water and a place to live that was free of disease. He said Commonwealth countries were working together to share skills, educate young people about HIV/AIDS and to devise practical solutions to manage the migration of health professionals from countries, which needed them most.
He said Australia was happy to be hosting the 18th Commonwealth Games at a time when the Commonwealth had devoted attention to good health, adding that the Games were an opportunity to foster the Commonwealth family among the younger generation.
Mr Richardson said the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Education Programme had been developed as a platform for schools to learn more about the participating athletes and Australia's role in the Commonwealth.
"It will also link teachers, students and school communities in Australia with schools in the Commonwealth," he said. The High Commissioner said Australia recognised the important role of sports in achieving health and community development objectives and was, therefore, exploring the possibility of making the 10-million-dollar Sports Outreach Programme for Commonwealth developing countries being funded by Australia available to Ghana. 10 March 06