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WHO Regional Director for Africa commends the work of OAFLA

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa delivering her statement at the 18th General Assembly of OAFLA Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa delivering her statement at the 18th General Assembly of OAFLA

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, attended the 18th General Assembly of the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) on the sidelines of the 28th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 31 January 2017.

This year’s OAFLA General Assembly coincided with the commemoration of its anniversary, and was marked under 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.”

Her Excellency Dr. Gertrude Mutharika, the First Lady of Malawi, who is also the current President of OAFLA, expressed her joy for celebrating the 15 years of successful works of OAFLA.  “The long journey was a story of conquest, as we stand firm in the battle against HIV/AIDS” Dr Mutharika highlighted.  “Although African nations may differ, they (First Ladies) are, however, firmly united by their desire to “end poverty, and entrench processes for sustainable progress,” she added.  

On the occasion, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, joined the chair of OAFLA in congratulating OAFLA for its outstanding work accomplished over the past 15 years.  “As First Ladies and mothers of our nations, your role in advocating  for and mainstreaming in national and continental agendas, the improvement of health and education of women, girls and children is central to the attainment of the 2030 targets of the sustainable development goals in Africa”, Dr. Moeti noted. She further expressed her organization’s commitment to further strengthen the partnership between WHO Africa and OAFLA.

Ethiopia’s First Lady, Her Excellency Roman Tesfaye, on her part noted that African First Ladies are increasingly using their role and influence to bring about changes nationally and internationally. “We, First Ladies of Africa take pride in our individual and collective contributions to the encouraging socio-economic and political strides Africa is making.” 

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) and OAFLA have signed a Project Collaboration Agreement during the 16th General Assembly of OAFLA on January 31 2016 to work together to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission, ending preventable maternal, neonatal, children and adolescent deaths, reducing stigma and barriers to accessing quality HIV/AIDS and reproductive health services and supporting countries to strengthen health systems; among others.

Present at the meeting were first ladies of Comoros, Ethiopia, Malawi, Chad, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Niger, Namibia, Zambia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Namibia as well as OAFLA partners among others UNAIDS, UNFPA, IPPF and AUC. 

On the occasion, Dr. Mutharika, further acknowledged OAFLA’s established partners, particularly: WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS, IPPF, AUC, CABC, and the Alere Incorporation for their continued support to the OAFLA.