UNICEF, Vitality and Running World Cup partner to deliver more vaccines to children

UNICEF, Vitality and Running World Cup partnering to protect children against potentially deadly diseases through vaccinations

Greer van Zyl
UNICEF South Africa/2020/Hong
10 March 2020

The inaugural Vitality Running World Cup was officially launched on 5 March 2020, with the aim of encouraging people to get more active to improve health outcomes through an exciting five-week global running competition.

The Vitality Running World Cup encourages citizens to run for their country, with the chance to win amazing weekly prizes. Coupled with this, as runners complete their weekly goals on their Running World Cup app, Vitality will donate a vaccine to a child in need through UNICEF.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Mariame Sylla, Chief of Health and Nutrition for UNICEF in South Africa said: “Immunisation is one of the most powerful tools to protect children against potentially deadly diseases. Every minute, five children are saved when they are vaccinated worldwide, so this is a very cost-effective intervention.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with Discovery Vitality, which will help to close the gaps to reach children in remote communities that we haven’t been able to reach with life-saving interventions. This will also help to reduce inequalities. Twinning it with running is even more powerful because getting adults moving can help prevent diseases, and importantly, by investing in vaccinations for children, we are investing in our future,” she said.

Vitality data shows that runners have a 9% lower chance developing chronic illnesses and 4% lower chance of contracting diabetes. In addition, non-runners experience on average, three more days in hospital than regular runners per admission. Apart from the health impact, physical activity has a real economic impact. Research done in partnership with RAND Europe shows that in SA for instance, fitter people could lead to a fitter SA economy with potential growth of $500 million (+R7 billion) a year. This can be achieved by keeping the economically active population healthier.

The Vitality Running World Cup is free and it’s easy to participate. Anyone over the age of 13 can take part by running at least three kilometres in 30 minutes or less each week between 5 March and 5 April. Each qualifying run contributes to their country’s total kilometres, and the country with the greatest distance covered relative to their eligible population, wins.