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Ghana’s First Lady, Lordina Mahama has been sworn into office as the new President of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The OAFLA president is elected every two years by the OAFLA General Assembly. Ghana’s First Lady is the seventh to be elected to serve as OAFLA president since the organisation’s establishment in 2002.
OAFLA was established by African First Ladies as a collective voice for Africa’s most vulnerable people, women and children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Today, OAFLA has more than 26 African First Ladies as its active members, each leading her national chapter to do exemplary work in the areas of HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, cervical and breast cancer.
In an address, Mahama commended her predecessor Hinda Deby Itno, First Lady of Chad for the excellent leadership and service she offered the organisation during her period in office.
She assured the outgoing president that together with the new team, they would not lower the standard she had set for them, but will work hard to improve on what she has done and set a new benchmark for future presidents of OAFLA.
According to the First Lady, during the last twelve years, African first ladies had made tremendous contributions to the Africa Union’s commitment to fast track efforts designed to reduce AIDS to the barest minimum.
Mahama said, specifically, African first ladies had realised significant results as ambassadors for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and for an AIDS-free generation.
According to her, the first ladies had engaged in aggressive awareness raising campaigns and advocacy in their respective countries.
That, she said, had supported substantial progresses that contributed to the achievement of various Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Driven by that evidence, she said, the caucus of African First Ladies “has expanded the mandate of OAFLA to address a broader set of sexual and reproductive health priorities.”
She said, “our current OAFLA Strategic Plan (2014-2018) incorporates the topics of maternal, neo-natal and child health, cervical cancer and the empowerment of women, girls and children.”
“Under my leadership and with your support, OAFLA will strengthen ties with our existing partners, and engage new private and non-governmental partners to achieve our strategic goals.”
“My focus will be on accelerating the campaign to “eliminate new HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive.”
We can eliminate mother- to-child transmission of the disease and ensure that no child is born with HIV and we shall achieve that.”
Mahama would also advocate the need for a united and continental “All-in campaign,” which has the objective to track progress among adolescents on the above issues, and that no one is left out of the effort.