In 2002, the World Health Organisation deemed ‘Physical Activity’ the theme of World Health Day. Since that time, April 6th is celebrated as the World Day for Physical Activity. This is an excellent example of a global initiative aimed at promoting health through physical activity across populations.

To reduce the burden of disease world-wide, the World Health Organisation introduced a global strategy in 2004. The Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health is a large-scale initiative aimed at promoting health enhancing physical activity and supporting policy development and research.

Collaborative efforts between organisations focusing on sport or health are necessary in ensuring that sport-for-health initiatives are more likely to achieve success. For example, UNICEF has used sport to raise awareness on immunisation and organised sports events for vaccination campaigns in Zambia against measles. Renowned sports stars in various sports promoted the health campaign through which approximately 5 million children were vaccinated in 2003.

Similarly, during the 2003 Cricket World Cup, the cricket teams from India and Pakistan together promoted the national polio eradication campaign in television commercials, competitions and events in the weeks leading up to the tournament.

In 2004, UNAIDS and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) began to collaborate to use sport as a tool for HIV/AIDS prevention. They jointly produced the toolkit on HIV/AIDS Prevention for the sports community and established an intensive communication and awareness campaign on HIV/AIDS prevention through sport during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Right to Play (an international sport and development organisation) has partnered with a number of multilateral agencies and inter-agency programmes for vaccination and immunisation. Right to Play worked with the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation (GAVI) in 2001 in order to advocate for vaccination. To raise awareness about HIV/AIDS as a preventative method of combating the disease, there are hopes to expand activities for social mobilisation in the 74 countries identified by GAVI. Right to Play also collaborates with the WHO for health and vaccination campaigns in the field as well as the celebration of international events such as World Health Day and World AIDS Day.

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