The Organization of African First Ladies for Development has met on the side-lines of the 20th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa on going at Kigali, Rwanda. Led by H.E. the First lady of the Rwanda, Madam Jeanette Kagame, the First Ladies and other strategic partners engaged in a panel discussion around the question, “What are the interconnections between HIV and AIDS and other broader health and development agendas?”
The discussion provided the African First ladies a platform to take stock of the UNAIDS global 90-90-90 targets and re-affirm their commitment towards an AIDS-free Africa
Delivering the Welcome Remarks, Madam Kagame gave the history of OAFLAD and the successes her country has chalked up in HIV. She encouraged the other First Ladies to acknowledge what strategies have worked and review what has not to make more meaningful impact on HIV in their countries.
The First Lady of the republic of Congo and OAFLAD President, H.E Madam Antoinette Sassou Nguesso affirmed that the First ladies will continue to provide joint efforts to end AIDS in Africa.
Addressing ICASA for the first time since she assumed office, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Ms. Winnie Byanyima, expressed the delight that First Ladies are driving political agendas with their efforts. She gave some global statistics (UNAIDS 2019) to indicate progress in the response to HIV and AIDS but also revealed statistic on areas that needed attention such as 50 percent of all new infections coming from the Key Populations. Key Populations not accessing treatment due to rights abuse, West and Central Africa lagging behind in the HIV response, and a new peak in new infections among adolescent girls in Africa. Ms. Byanyima lamented the fact that many counties were reluctant to introduce Comprehensive Sexual Education because of moral or misguided reasons. She called on counties to find ways to raise domestic funds for their national response.
The WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for joint strategies for elimination of HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis. In his opinion, all these conditions can be prevented and intensified efforts should go into that instead of dealing with the consequences of acquiring them.
The First ladies led panel discussions on different topics H.E. Madam Rebecca Akufo-Addo led the discussion on how gender inequality increases women’s vulnerability to HIV. She mentioned poverty, gender based violence and marriage of young girls to older men as some of the gender inequality factors that increase women’s vulnerability to HIV.
The Ghana AIDS Commission is a supra-ministerial and multi-sectoral body established under the Chairmanship of H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana by Act 2016, Act 938 of Parliament. The objective of the Commission is to formulate policy on the HIV and AIDS epidemic and...find out more