General News of Monday, 3 July 2017
The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to attend the Organisation of African First Ladies (OAFLA) General Assembly meeting.
The meeting, which is being held on the sidelines of the General Assembly of the African Union (AU), is from July 1 to 5, 2017.
The 2017 OAFLA meeting is on the theme “Building on 15 years of engagement to harness the demographic dividend of Africa through promoting the needs of adolescents and their access to youth-friendly health services.”
Included on the draft agenda for discussion at the meeting is the need to change the name of OFLA to evolve and expand its mandate
CHANGE OF NAME
According to a draft term of reference by the organisation, OAFLA is “mindful that considerable progress and breakthroughs had been made in slowing down the HIV pandemic in Africa”.
However, it is of the view that despite the progress, the burden of HIV and AIDS still needs to be addressed and, therefore, it will continue to strongly focus on HIV and AIDS until the realisation of an HIV free generation and the end of AIDS.
Participants in the general meeting will also decide whether to change the name of OAFLA or not.
Some of the arguments for the need to change the name of OAFLA included the need for the organisation to evolve and expand itself to remain relevant in a fast changing environment to align itself to the ideals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to the organisation, the timing of the proposed name change is an opportune for the organisation’s members as 2018 will mark the end of the current strategic plan and the fashioning of a new plan for 2019 to 2022
Another issue on the agenda is the fact that member states will also share best practices on some of their country specific strategic plans.
Ghana will make a presentation on HIV stigma and discrimination; Cote d’Ivoire will speak on HIV paediatric while Rwanda and Namibia will do same on HIV adolescent and youth.
There will also be a presentation on cervical cancer awareness and treatment by Ethiopia and Namibia, while Kenya and Congo will both make presentations on ‘Resource mobilisation’.
Two panel discussions, one on the theme of the meeting and the other on “Implementing the AU Roadmap to harness the demographic dividend: Ending AIDS by 2030, will involve various first ladies and chief executive officers (CEOs) of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), donor partners, youth-led organisations and the private sector.
In line with its current mission, which states that ‘First ladies of Africa advocate effective policies and strategies towards the elimination of HIV and AIDS, reduction of maternal and child mortality and the empowerment of women and children through strategic partnerships.” OAFLA works with like-minded organisations, including United Nations (UN) agencies, the private sector and various philanthropic organisations to widen its partnership base.
The First Lady is being accompanied by technical advisors from the Ghana Aids Commission (GAC).