199 Views

African First Ladies make strides in HIV/AIDS prevention

• Mrs Lordina Mahama with her Vice, Mrs Getrude Mutsarika of Malawi ( second right),and other First Ladies at the OAFLA meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.

• Mrs Lordina Mahama with her Vice, Mrs Getrude Mutsarika of Malawi ( second right),and other First Ladies at the OAFLA meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa

For many years, women in Africa have been dying from HIV, AIDS and pregnancy-related causes. It has been estimated that an average of 450 women die every day from pregnancy-related causes. The unfortunate aspect of this development is that more than half of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

Worried about this disturbing trend and other health-related problems on the continent, African First Ladies came together to form an association to provide a collective voice for the continent’s most vulnerable people.

OAFLA

Known as the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), it was established to provide a collective voice for women and children infected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa.

The First Ladies joined forces to use their capabilities to improve the lives of victims through advocacy, social interventions and resource mobilisation.

When OAFLA was established 13 years ago, the main focus was on the elimination of HIV/AIDS on the continent, but now it has a broader framework that includes factors that have an impact on the quality of life of women and children.

Activities of OAFLA

Current activities carried out by OAFLA include programmes towards the elimination of HIV among children and keeping their mothers alive, actions for maternal, neonatal and child health, as well as an adolescents’ “All – In” campaign.

The organisations also contributes to the national effort in respective countries in controlling breast and cervical cancer, enhancing organisational visibility, organisational learning and stakeholders’ commitment, as well as ensuring programme and financial sustainability.

The decision by OAFLA to promote maternal, neonatal and child health has been mainly justified because of many women dying from pregnancy-related causes on the continent.

To OAFLA, the well-being of the mother is key to ensuring the survival of the child because it has been found out that children who lose their mothers are less likely to celebrate their second birthday.

Beginnings, Objectives

The origins of OAFLA can be traced to 2002, when 37 African First Ladies converged on Geneva at a meeting facilitated by UNAIDS and the International AIDS Trust (IAT) to deliberate on how they could help with public education and other social interventions, especially targeted at children infected by HIV/AIDS.

Since then, it has transformed itself from a fora of ideas to an institution capable of providing the continent-wide leadership needed to bring about change in people’s lives. With its permanent secretariat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, OAFLA has moved from addressing the symptoms of the HIV/ AIDS crisis to the root causes of poverty and the overall inequality of women in the region.

Mission, vision

The mission of OAFLA is to advocate effective policies and strategies towards the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat, reduce maternal and child mortality and empower women and children through strategic partnerships in the spirit of solidarity.
OAFLA’s vision is to see an Africa free from HIV and AIDS, maternal and child mortality and a continent where women and children are empowered to enjoy equal opportunities.

The organisation’s objective is to reduce stigma and discrimination against people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and increase their participation in fighting the pandemic.

It also mobilises stakeholder, financial and operational resources at the local, national, regional and international levels to facilitate an expanded response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and advocate the expansion of effective strategies for the prevention of HIV/AIDS and for effective HIV/AIDS treatment.

Structure of OAFLA

The OAFLA General Assembly (GA) is the highest decision-making body of the organisation and meets twice a year on the sidelines of the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit.

The Steering Committee (SC), which represents member First Ladies’ offices from the five regions of the continent, namely, Northern, Eastern, Western, Central and Southern Africa, are elected for a two-year term with the mandate to co-ordinate activities undertaken in respective regions.

ALSO READ  188 Students Bags First Class Honours At Covenant University

At present, the SC comprises the following countries: Northern Africa, Algeria; Eastern Africa, Rwanda and Tanzania; Western Africa, Senegal and Ghana; Central Africa, Chad and Congo, and Southern Africa, Zambia and Mozambique.

The Secretariat

The OAFLA Secretariat, accountable to the Steering Committee, has served the organisation and its members as a liaison and coordination office with the AU and its Commission, UN agencies and other organisations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, since 2012.

The Secretariat organises OAFLA General Assembly meetings, coordinates the activities of member states and liaises with partner agencies.

OAFLA has clear goals and objectives that support member countries’ efforts and the First Ladies of Africa achieve their goals through advocacy, resource mobilisation, establishing strategic partnerships within the context of their legal and cultural frameworks and through experience sharing.

Ghana’s First Lady and the Ghana Chapter

As a founder member OAFLA, the Ghana Chapter focuses on efforts to achieve national and global targets in the prevention of HIV from mother-to-child and empower women to take charge of their reproductive health needs.

This is done by creating awareness, providing prevention education, as well as health screening outreaches in order to prevent new infections, reduce the rate at which diseases are transmitted to children, including mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and improve the reproductive health needs of mothers.

At the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of OAFLA organised on the sidelines of the AU Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June this year, Ghana’s First Lady, Mrs Lordina Mahama, emerged the new President of OAFLA after a keenly contested poll.
Before her election, the First Lady represented the West African region on the OAFLA Steering Committee for two years as the deputy to Senegal.

She took over the OAFLA Presidency from the First Lady of Chad, Madam Hinda Derby Itno, who congratulated Mrs Mahama on working hard for Ghana in particular and the continent as a whole.
The First Lady of Malawi, Mrs Gertrude Mutharika, also clinched the Vice President position and pledged to assist Mrs Mahama in all her endeavours to raise the flag of OAFLA to higher levels.

Commitment and priorities of new President

Mrs Mahama expressed her appreciation to the organisation for the confidence and the honour reposed in her by her peers as the new President.

Mrs Mahama, who is expected to be sworn into office in Addis Ababa this month, called on all African First Ladies to support her in order to move the organisation to higher levels and said as a founder member of OAFLA, Ghana was fully committed to it’s mission and vision.
As the First Lady and OAFLA representative for West Africa for the past two years, she ensured that her priorities revolved around attaining the objectives of OAFLA’s strategic plan of reversing the trends of HIV and AIDS and eliminating mother-to-child transmission, among others.

“My priorities as the President of OAFLA will be to accelerate the global and African plans towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2017 and keep their mothers alive”, Mrs Mahama stated after her election as the new leader of the organisation.
This move, she is sure, will lead to the elimination of vertical transmission of HIV to babies in every member state by 2020.

The First Lady will also advocate as a UNAIDS Ambassador for “Early Infant Diagnosis of every HIV exposed baby, Anti-retroviral Treatment” for every HIV positive child aged zero to 14 years as well as support orphans and vulnerable children.

“My expectation is that the results will lead to the consistent reduction in AIDS-related deaths among children, reduction in neonatal and child mortality, healthy and educated orphans and the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs)”, says Mrs Mahama.

Conclusion

Now that Mrs Mahama is in the chair as OAFLA President, she says she will break new ground and consolidate the achievements so far made by her predecessor.
Writer’s email: mary.mensah@graphic.com.gh

 

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

Photos Of Multi-Billion Naira Ultra-Modern Deeper Life Church Auditorium Just Completed In Lagos
Religion
55 views
Religion
55 views

Photos Of Multi-Billion Naira Ultra-Modern Deeper Life Church Auditorium Just Completed In Lagos

MT - April 26, 2018

The new Deeper Life multi-billion naira ultra-modern church auditorium which reportedly gulped about N5 billion has been commissioned. The 30,000 capacity church located in Gbagada area of…

#LazyYouths: Bauchi Residents Match Out in Numbers to Welcome President Buhari on a 2-Day Working Visit
Politics
60 views
Politics
60 views

#LazyYouths: Bauchi Residents Match Out in Numbers to Welcome President Buhari on a 2-Day Working Visit

MT - April 26, 2018

President Buhari is in Bauchi state on a 2-day working visit. Residents of the state including children, filed out in their numbers to welcome him.

‘Legbegbe’ Star, Mr Real ‘Signs’ Deal With Sony Music Africa
Entertainment
51 views
Entertainment
51 views

‘Legbegbe’ Star, Mr Real ‘Signs’ Deal With Sony Music Africa

PH - April 26, 2018

Mr Real, the artiste behind the commercially successful ‘Legbegbe’, has signed a deal with Sony Music Entertainment Africa. The entertainment company made the development known in a…

D’banj’s CREAM Hits ‘3.5m Subscribers’
Entertainment
47 views
Entertainment
47 views

D’banj’s CREAM Hits ‘3.5m Subscribers’

PH - April 26, 2018

Dbanj on Wednesday said his Creative, Reality, Entertainment, Arts and Music (CREAM) platform has hit 3.5 million subscribers. CREAM, a platform which provides upcoming artistes the opportunity…

WATCH: Banky W Talks About EME and Why He Featured Adesua Etomi on His Song
Entertainment
55 views
Entertainment
55 views

WATCH: Banky W Talks About EME and Why He Featured Adesua Etomi on His Song

PH - April 26, 2018

Singer Banky W was on Hip TV recently to discuss a myriad of topics including the 2019 elections and why he featured his wife Adesua Etomi on…

WATCH: Toke Makinwa Opens up About Struggle with Fibroid and Recent Surgery
Entertainment
67 views
Entertainment
67 views

WATCH: Toke Makinwa Opens up About Struggle with Fibroid and Recent Surgery

PH - April 26, 2018

Watch this week’s episode of Toke Makinwa‘s Toke Moments as the author and media personality opens up on her struggle with Fibroids, her recent surgery and her…

Mikel Obi Speaks Ahead Of Super Eagles’ Clash With England
Sports
108 views
Sports
108 views

Mikel Obi Speaks Ahead Of Super Eagles’ Clash With England

MT - April 25, 2018

John Mikel Obi says the Super Eagles will put their best foot forward during the international friendly match against the Three Lions of England. The game is…

Like Cee-C, Nina Also Gets iPhone X, Hair and Cash Gifts from Tonto Dikeh and Bobrisky
Entertainment
94 views
Entertainment
94 views

Like Cee-C, Nina Also Gets iPhone X, Hair and Cash Gifts from Tonto Dikeh and Bobrisky

MT - April 25, 2018

Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh has heightened her social media beef with singer and Instagram influencer, Tunde Ednut. This is coming after Tunde Ednut mocked a video shared…

Revealed: How Korede Bello Paid For His Distinction Results From Nigerian Institute Of Journalism
Entertainment
95 views
Entertainment
95 views

Revealed: How Korede Bello Paid For His Distinction Results From Nigerian Institute Of Journalism

MT - April 25, 2018

Mavin artiste, Korede Bello who graduated from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism with a distinction in Mass Communication (HND),just four days ago has explained in details how…

A Look At The Lagos Slum Where Land Is Allocated At N2k And Residents Live In Dirt
Shocking
100 views
Shocking
100 views

A Look At The Lagos Slum Where Land Is Allocated At N2k And Residents Live In Dirt

MT - April 25, 2018

Life at Mosquito village, a slum in Lagos state, is disgusting, brutal, weird, ephemeral, yet entertaining. The residents live in the cozy embrace of the filth surrounding…

SEE What Eating Dark Chocolate Does To Your Memory And Immunity – New Study
Best of Nigeria
91 views
Best of Nigeria
91 views

SEE What Eating Dark Chocolate Does To Your Memory And Immunity – New Study

MT - April 25, 2018

A new research showed that consuming dark chocolate with a high concentration of cacao has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity. Presented on…

PHOTOS: This Is How Nigerian Singer, D’banj Is Living Like A King In Dubai
Best of Nigeria
110 views
Best of Nigeria
110 views

PHOTOS: This Is How Nigerian Singer, D’banj Is Living Like A King In Dubai

MT - April 25, 2018

Without a shadow of doubt, D’banj is one artist who qualifies to be described as famous and rich. He also has so much style, so when he…

G-Worldwide Entertainment Unveils 2 New Artists, Easy Jay and Ajura
Entertainment
84 views
Entertainment
84 views

G-Worldwide Entertainment Unveils 2 New Artists, Easy Jay and Ajura

PH - April 25, 2018

G-Worldwide has just announced the latest additions to their rosters; Easy Jay and Ajura. The records Head of Artist Management, Louiza Williams said: We are thrilled to…

Why I Escaped From Police – Senator Melaye
Politics
105 views
Politics
105 views

Why I Escaped From Police – Senator Melaye

PH - April 25, 2018

Senator Dino Melaye has said that he jumped down from a moving police vehicle, which resulted in his hospitalization on Tuesday to prevent being taken to Lokoja,…

WATCH: DJ Neptune talks on his Challenges and Success Story on EbonyLife TV’s “EL Now”
Entertainment
90 views
Entertainment
90 views

WATCH: DJ Neptune talks on his Challenges and Success Story on EbonyLife TV’s “EL Now”

PH - April 25, 2018

In the new episode of EbonyLife TV‘s EL NOW, the talented DJ Neptune discusses the trials and challenges that he has encountered on his journey to becoming…

Singer Korede Bello Bags Degree from Nigerian Institute of Journalism
Entertainment
104 views
Entertainment
104 views

Singer Korede Bello Bags Degree from Nigerian Institute of Journalism

PH - April 25, 2018

Mavins record act, Korede Bello is proof that if you set you mind to achieve a certain goal, nothing can hold you back. In a post on…

Drums Festival Generated Lots Of Income For The Government – Governor Amosun
Art, History and Culture
105 views
Art, History and Culture
105 views

Drums Festival Generated Lots Of Income For The Government – Governor Amosun

PH - April 25, 2018

The Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun has stated that the just concluded Africa Drums Festival hosted by the state, generated a lot of income for both…

I Sat For UTME Six Times – 26-year-old First Class Graduate
Geeky & Smart
104 views
Geeky & Smart
104 views

I Sat For UTME Six Times – 26-year-old First Class Graduate

PH - April 25, 2018

A 26 year old first class graduate of the Department of Applied Chemistry, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Simon Godwin Idoko, has opened up on how he was…

Loading...