The First Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo on Tuesday, September 4 delivered an address on behalf of the first ladies of West Africa, attending an annual meeting which took place on the sidelines of the 2018 FOCAC (Forum On China-Africa Cooperation) Beijing Summit.
Called the “JOINT INITIATIVE OF THE CHINA-AFRICA THEMATIC MEETING ON HIV/AIDS PREVENTION AND CONTROL” the forum aims to share ideas and intensify the campaign against HIV/AIDS control and prevention and build a future free of AIDS.
Speaking on the theme “CHINA AND AFRICA: JOIN HANDS FOR A FUTURE FREE OF AIDS’’ the First Lady called for “better collaboration. The global response must be strengthened. It must be accelerated. Beyond the statistics and the discourse are real people, mothers, fathers and the youth who are the future of our countries. Beyond the discourse is the issue of expensive anti- retroviral therapy, well beyond the reach of many.”
Addressing participants of the forum, Ghana’s First lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo also stressed on the need to intensify outreach activities to young people through frequent community health outreach programs by creating a more user-friendly environment where young people can access non-judgmental services.
She emphasized the strides Ghana has made in this regard through an initiative of using persons living with HIV as ambassadors for promoting healthy lifestyles and showing people that there is life after HIV, thereby facing the stigma head on and reducing HIV/AIDS infections in Ghana.
The First Lady of China, Peng Liyuang WHO Goodwill Ambassador for TB(Tuberculosis) and HIV/AIDS announced at the meeting that China will launch a three-year program with African countries and relevant international organizations, especially for Chinese and African youths and focus on community health promotion as part of its effort to increase support for African countries in HIV/AIDS prevention and control.
DR. Tshepo Motsepe, the First Lady of South Africa and the FOCAC Co-Chair, said “it is critical to focus efforts and resources on prevention of the disease,” which is a global public problem.
Madam Sika Kabore, First Lady of Burkina Faso and the President of OAFLA all reiterated their commitment to strengthening ties and working harder to ensure a future free of AIDS.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyeus, Director-General of WHO, spoke on the importance of data collection to enable pin point decisions to be made to have maximum impact. He also added that there was the need to have tailored services to cover the vulnerable and the marginalized.
UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe also commended the China-Africa cooperation in HIV/AIDS prevention.
In total, forty-four (44) first ladies from Africa, in the presence of the WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) attended this meeting with a discourse aimed at prevention and control of HIV/AIDS.
After productive deliberations the meeting ended with a release of a JOINT INITIATIVE titled CHINA and AFRICA: Join Hands for A Future Free of Aids. A communique signed and acknowledged by all participants.
As the moderator, Minister of National Health Commission of China, Mr. Ma Xiaowei emphasized the need to have such discourse targeted at prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and commended the participants for their commitment in supporting their governments in fighting for a future free of AIDS.