Renewed campaigns to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa were the major highlights when the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) 20th Ordinary General Assembly closed in Addis Ababa Monday.
At the end of the three-day OAFLA meeting that brought together First Ladies from 16 countries including Kenya and host Ethiopia, the members drew a six-point agenda aimed at driving a re-energized campaign against the AIDS/HIV menace across the continent..
The OAFLA meeting was held concurrently with the 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Summit.
Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta-who had earlier talked of her commitment to see a generation free of HIV/Aids in her lifetime-read the joint communiqué” endorsed by all OAFLA members in attendance.
In their communication, the First Ladies agreed to champion the Free to Shine initiative- a continental campaign spearheaded by OAFLA and the AU to end Childhood AIDS in Africa by 2030 and keep mothers safe.
OAFLA members also committed themselves to advocate for resources and prioritization of the delivery and sustainable HIV and AIDS health services that are accessible to all who need them.
The First Ladies further recommitted themselves to increase understanding of how to prevent HIV and AIDS in Children by keeping mothers healthy, preventing mother-to-child transmission and ensuring a fast and effective identification and treatment of HIV infected children.
The OAFLA members also pledged to advocate the removal of barriers that prevent children, women and mothers affected by HIV/Aids from accessing health services.
They are also calling on AU Member States, Heads of States, Health and Finance Ministers, Media, NGOs and religious groups to unite and support personal and collective understanding of the actions to be taken to end childhood HIV/Aids
The OAFLA members additionally reaffirmed their commitment to leverage on their unique position to support the implementation of the Stay Free, AIDS free and State of the African Woman Campaign aimed at securing and extending the rights of young women and adolescents in AU policies.