African First Ladies commit to AIDS-free generation

Africa’s First Ladies and China have resolved to commit themselves to work towards attaining the global objective of an AIDS-free generation.

Addressing a China-Africa roundtable on HIV and AIDS in South Africa, the First Lady, Mrs Lordina Mahama, said: “We will work together, hand in hand, to end AIDS and secure a healthy, prosperous and beautiful future together.”

The event, aimed at securing an HIV-free generation, was organised on the sidelines of the just-ended Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg.

The roundtable was attended by delegates from the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNAIDS and First Ladies from 10 African countries.

Mrs Mahama, who is the President of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against AIDS (OAFLA), said there had been a 43 per cent reduction in new HIV infections among children and a 29 per cent decrease in the number of AIDS-related deaths among women of reproductive age.

Progress

She said access to medicine by HIV-positive pregnant women had more than doubled from 33 per cent in 2009 to the current 68 per cent, a situation which was a positive indication of progress being made in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Africa.

Mrs Mahama said African First Ladies, who had over the last 12 years made tremendous contribution towards ending AIDS,  would continue to work beyond the quest to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV towards securing comprehensive treatment and care for all HIV-positive children.

She thanked the Chinese government for the partnership with the OAFLA, the WHO and UNAIDS.

“This event represents what I believe will be a strong and fruitful partnership between Africa and the People’s Republic of China towards achieving an AIDS-free generation,” she stated.

Mrs Mahama reiterated her World AIDS Day declaration that the world must work to “end AIDS among children to ultimately achieve that AIDS-free generation we all desire”.

China’s pledge

The Chinese First Lady, Peng Liyuan, pledged China’s support to help address HIV and AIDS in Africa, emphasising that “so long as the international community works together, we will be able to realise an AIDS-free world”.

“China will support the OAFLA in its campaign to achieve an AIDS-free generation by sharing information, helping build expertise and providing resources for advocacy to support women and children living with and affected by HIV,” she said.

Mrs Tobeka Madiba Zuma, the First Lady of South Africa, urged her fellow First Ladies to continue to lead the advocacy with the citizenry, especially the youth, to ensure that everyone took responsibility for his or her health and had access to adequate services.

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