The First Lady, Mrs Lordina Mahama, has called for public-private partnerships (PPPs) to enhance the collaborative and sustained financing of HIV interventions.
That, she said, had become necessary since international financing had declined but African governments were compelled to meet the demands of their citizens despite the limited resources available to them.
Mrs Mahama was addressing the 15th Ordinary Assembly of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA) in Johannesburg, South Africa last Monday.
The conference had the theme, “Enhancing partnerships to end AIDS by 2030 and to empower women in their sexual reproductive health and rights”.
The theme for the OAFLA conference was chosen in consonance with the agenda for the 25th African Union Summit, which revolves around the observance of the year 2015 as the year of women empowerment and development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Mrs Mahama called for “an accelerated, co-ordinated and scaled-up response in the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic on the African Continent.”
She said that the success of the programme would depend on developing strategic partnerships with actors such as civil society, faith-based organisations, law and policy makers, Persons Living with HIV and key affected populations.
“A decade ago, it was impossible to envision the end of AIDS. This was like a pandemic that was designed to end the human race. We all are very optimistic today because of the successes we have chalked up in this fight against HIV and AIDS,” the First Lady said.
She was optimistic that Africa had a bright future since heads of state and governments had taken responsibility for Africa’s response to HIV and were leading the way to ensure that everyone shared the responsibility of eradicating AIDS.
She urged other African First Ladies to be steadfast and tireless in their efforts to support the weak and vulnerable in the various countries.
Mrs Mahama further urged her colleague First Ladies to pursue the empowerment of women and young girls.
She said statistics showed that in Sub-Saharan Africa, 74 per cent of HIV infections occurred among the adolescent, which was unacceptable.
She called for unrestricted and easily accessible sexual and reproductive health education for women to improve their knowledge and make them conscious about their sexual and reproductive health rights.
The First Lady said it was equally important to strengthen income-generation opportunities for women to make them economically independent and active members of society.
The South African First Lady, Mrs Thobeka Madiba–Zumah, who hosted the conference, apologised for the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa and gave an assurance that steps were being taken to ensure that it did not happen again.
She urged the First Ladies to focus more attention on young women and the adolescent since they were more affected by HIV/AIDS, and cautioned that unless swift action was taken to educate young girls, Africa risked losing the battle against HIV/AIDs.
Source: Daily Graphic
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