Zero New HIV Infection Through Access to Health Services for Mothers and Children African First Ladies 13th General Assembly
Joint Press Release
Addis Ababa January 31, 2014-The 13th General Assembly of the African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) took place on January 31st 2014 at the Africa Union old building under the theme “Zero new infection of HIV through access to health services for mothers and children”.On the occasion, the OAFLA President,MrsHindaDebyItno, First Lady of the Republic of Chadsigned a memorandum of understanding with the African Union Commission, represented by the Social Affairs Commissioner, Dr. Mustapha SidikiKaloko.The Assembly deliberated on recommendations of the Technical Advisors, made prior to this day.
Mrs Jeannette Kagame, First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda and Vice president of OAFLA, acknowledged the efforts made by the previous president of the organization, Namibia’s First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba, and welcomed the new president of the organization, Mrs Hinda DebyItno, First Lady of the Republic of Chad. Mrs Kagame chaired this session whereby the first ladies discussed the theme.
In her welcoming remarks, the Ethiopian First Lady Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, indicated that Africa has suffered the AIDS epidemic and this epidemic has affected Africa’s development effort in all sectors including industry and trade. She applauded all major accomplishments made on the continent but said there was still a lot of work to do. She added that first ladies can play an indispensable role in reducing HIV/AIDS in Africa by, inter alia, organizing massive awareness campaigns and lobbying.
She stated women and children are the most vulnerable in conflict situations and called upon her peers to have a strong position to support the women and children in South Sudan. “Women and children must be prioritized” she said.
The President of the organization launched an appeal to all first ladies who are hesitating, to ”join as soon as possible so that our voice can be heard and our actions become more visible, together we can overcome challenges,” she said.
She congratulated the accomplishments of the last years, including the success against malaria and added that it was necessary to redouble efforts to allow young girls to access education and to eliminate early marriage for girls through massive sensitization.
Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the Commission of the African Union, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the African Union Commission to further reinforce the partnership. He applauded the success in the reduction of HIV infection through the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) and indicated that HIV/AIDS infections have decreased up to 50% in some countries. “However, challenges remain. In some countries the reduction has been slow and in others it has even risen, this is unfortunate”.
Present at the meeting were the first ladies of the Republic of Chad, Rwanda, Mozambique, Ghana and Zambia. The steering committee is composed of the first ladies of the Republic of Tanzania, Rwanda, Senegal, Ghana, Chad, Congo, Mozambique, Zambia and Algeria. In attendance were also,Mrs Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka- Executive Director UN Women, Mr Usi Hoebeb, Executive Director of New Projects & Communications of Nanseb Holdings, and Mrs Rosemary Museminali, UNAIDS Representative to AU and UNECA.
OAFLA was established as a collective voice for Africa’s most vulnerable people, women and children infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Since its beginning, OAFLA has transformed itself from a forum of ideas to an institution capable of providing the continent wide leadership needed to bring about change in peoples’ lives.