FIRST Ladies of Africa and China have made a commitment to working towards attaining the global objective of an AIDS-free generation.
“We will work together, hand-in-hand, to end AIDS and secure a healthy, prosperous and beautiful future together,” Ghana’s First Lady, Lordina Mahama, stated at a China-Africa roundtable on HIV and AIDS in South Africa.
The event, aimed at securing an HIV-free generation, was organised on the sidelines of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
It 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.
According to her, “access to medicine by HIV-positive pregnant women had more than doubled, from 33 per cent in 2009, to the current 68 per cent”.
Mrs. Mahama noted that African first ladies, who had over the last 12 years made tremendous contributions 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 OAFLA, 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 declaration on World AIDS Day that the world should work to “end AIDS among children to ultimately achieve that AIDS-free generation we all desire”.
The First Lady of China, Peng Liyuan, pledged China’s support to help address HIV and AIDS in Africa, emphasising that “as long as the international community works together, we will be able to realise an AIDS-free world”.
China will support 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.
Mrs. Tobeka Madiba Zuma, the First Lady of South Africa, urged her colleagues to continue to lead the advocacy with the citizenry, especially the youth, to ensure that everyone took responsibility for their health and had access to adequate services.