Across The Continent

African First Ladies commit to make Africa a Continent free from HIV/AIDS, Maternal and Child Mortality…

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Press Release

Kigali, Rwanda, 18 July 2016 – African First Ladies meeting from 17-18 July 2016 at their 17th General Assembly in the sideline of the 27th AU Summit holding in Kigali, Rwanda under the theme “Advancing Sustainable Partnerships to end pediatric AIDS and improve Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights” discussed on the issues of ending HIV infections among adolescents, comprehensive sexuality and reproductive health education, access to youth friendly services, ending child marriage and progress made in recent years to improve adolescent and youth health.

Holding at the Kigali Convention Center (KCC), the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) was guided by its vision of “An Africa free from HIV and AIDS, maternal, new born and child mortality, where women and children are empowered to enjoy equal opportunities”

In her welcoming remarks, First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, welcomed her peers, First Ladies to Rwanda. She underscored the importance of Africa to rise up against all odds, “indeed what we have managed to do by rising up again is to us a symbol and testament to what Africans can accomplish and overcome when we foster the will to work together and walk the same path towards a future of our making”.

H.E. Mrs. Kagame underlined that one of the initiatives that helped Rwanda to make a difference was directly inspired by OAFLA, notably the theme: “Treat every child as your own” an African traditional practice that she urged everyone to develop.

OAFLA reaching its 15th Anniversary, H.E. Mrs. Kagame called for fellow First Ladies assess past journey as well as evaluate the legacy which the First Ladies would like to leave behind.

H.E. Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta, First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, who chaired the Assembly of OAFLA, on behalf of the Chairperson , First Lady of Ghana, H.E. Dr. Nana Lordina Mahama, in her opening remarks outlined some of the activities undertaken by OAFLA since the last convention in January 2016: The commemoration of African Vaccination week and national chapters in reaffirming their commitment to advocate for access and investments to life saving vaccines for Africa’s mothers, new born, children and adolescents; in Ghana the launch of United continental “All IN” adolescent Campaign; UN high level meeting on ending AIDS, OAFLA oraginized a side event within the margin of the UN high level meeting on “breaking the Silos: Empowered adolescent girls at the centre of the response”; AUC catalysing framework on end AIDS, TB and eliminate malaria in Africa by 2030.

She further noted that OAFLA attaches great importance to the partnership and said “today OAFLA celebrates the African Union theme “African year of human rights with particular focus on the rights of women” Past success and achievements would not have been possible without the support of the long lasting partnerships that we have developed”.

In their recommendations, the 17th Assembly of the African First Ladies committed to: stop HIV infection and reduce vulnerability among young women and adolescent girls; continue to advocate for increased investment in the health system; accelerate advocacy for enhanced health education; and to support youth and civil society in policy and program initiatives that promote young women’s well-being as leaders and agents of social change in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and national governments. They also committed to continue to ensure the launch of the campaign to End Child Marriage in all their countries.

H.E. Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AUC stated that it was a great pleasure to address the Assembly of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS. “African Union Heads of State and Government during the AWA Statutory Luncheon Meeting endorsed the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria by 2030. The Report will presented to the Assembly of Heads of State for consideration and adoption” noted the Commissioner. He added that the Framework sets out a clear Roadmap and provides ambitious targets to ending AIDS, TB and Malaria by 2030.

According to Dr. Kaloko, ending pediatric AIDS by 2030 is a prerequisite for achieving all the seven aspirations of Agenda 2063. He said “as we put it in the Common Africa Position to the High Level Meeting on HIV (HLM), while the SDGs are broad and comprehensive, not focusing resources to high impact areas will reverse the gains achieved in the AIDS response. Ending AIDS will be a shared triumph for many SDGs”. The Commissioner underlined that these include but are not limited to SDG 1 on ending poverty; SDG 3 on good health and well-being; SDG 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment; SDG 8 on economic growth; SDG 10 on reduced inequalities; SDG 16 on just, peaceful and inclusive societies and SDG 17 on global partnerships are all pertinent instrument geared towards harnessing the health status of girls and women within and beyond the continent.

First Ladies of Africa through OAFLA have called upon: The African governments and national institutions to ensure ratification, domestication and reporting on the implementation; AUC, UN Agencies, and other development partners to actively support the implementation of the road map developed in response to the AU theme of the year 2017 and increase investment in youth development; Pledged to collaborate with Partners to reduce mortality rate from cervical cancer by advocating for adequate resource allocation; and called upon the global community to support the Global fund replenishment to particularly end AIDS, TB, Malaria by 2030 and build resilient and sustainable health systems. They have pledged to advocate support for the Global Fund’s campaign to mobilize USD.13 billion for replenishment and to advocate for increased domestic financing for sustainable national health programs.

During the Assembly there was a short presentation from a young adolescent girl from Kenya who shared her experience. “I stand before you today to talk about my HIV status, not to be pitied but to impact hope in a life of an adolescent girl somewhere in our African continent and the world” the voice of Ms. Ouma echoing with encouragement that by the year 2030 Africa will end AIDS. Ms. Ouma appealed to all parents who have children living with HIV to disclose to them their status at an opportune time to enable the child to fully understand their health better. She further request to OAFLA to sponsor more adolescents to the forum, allowing them to be informed and participate effectively. “No single entity, no single intervention can end HIV/AIDS we must work together,” she concluded.
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Journalists wishing to interview the leadership of the AU Commission during the Summit should submit their requests to Mrs Esther Azaa Tankou, Ag. Director of Information and Communication of the AUC, via E-mail: [email protected] / [email protected]; Tel: +250 789923794

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Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission I E-mail: [email protected] I Website: www.au.int I Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

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