The Prime Minister, Dr Motsoahae Thabane and his spouse Mrs. ‘Maisiah Thabane arrived in the country from the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 03 to 05 July, 2017.

The Heads of State and Government among other activities adopted the AIDS Watch Africa Strategic Framework that will boost the work of AIDS Watch Africa, which is the highest level continental vehicle for joint action, advocacy and accountability towards ending AIDS, TB and Malaria.

During the meeting the leaders endorsed the Emergency Catch up Plan to accelerate the HIV response in West and Central Africa, a region that is lagging behind in its response. The meeting further endorsed the two million community health workers initiative that will build and create decent jobs while harnessing their capabilities in a seamless integrated health system.

On this note, leading the way for evidence-based advocacy, data-driven accountability and resource mobilization efforts for the new AIDS Watch Africa strategy seeks to further mobilise and sustain high level leadership commitment and galvanise all stakeholders and actors to form partnerships to end AIDS, TB and Malaria by 2030.

Ending the three diseases is critical to the achievement of the bold aspirations of Agenda 2063 that seek to transform the continent’s development path and the key element of the strategy, which is to generate and disseminate strategic and culturally sensitive information to partners and others to ignite action at the international, regional, national and grassroots levels.

The new strategy further seeks to strengthen accountability by Member States for measurable results and impact at the grass-root level.

The 15 year strategy will accelerate advocacy efforts to mobilise domestic and international resources to accelerate the implementation of commitments while increasing the efficiency of funding flows and spending. The framework will promote national level ownership among governments, the private sector and civil society.

Meanwhile, at the summit, Mrs. ‘Maisiah Thabane participated in the 19th Ordinary General Assembly of the Organization of First Ladies of Africa (OAFLA), which took place on Tuesday 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”. This served as a platform for African First Ladies to address root causes of poverty and committing to give a voice to the voiceless.

Addressing the First Ladies, AU’s Commissioner for Social Affairs Commission, Ms Amira ElFadil Mohamed underlined that systematic and integrated approaches are needed in all the four areas of the demographic dividend pillars; health and wellbeing; employment and entrepreneurship; education and skills development and rights and good governance to register unprecedented progress, in turning the current youth bulge into an economic dividend for Africa.

According to the Commissioner of Social Affairs, sustainable and affordable access to maternal and child health care, HIV testing and counselling and immunization services will ultimately result in young people meaningfully contributing to the socio-economic development of their society, thereby enabling them to make the right informed decisions about their health.

“The youth of our continent need to be guaranteed social and economic development if they are to contribute to their nations’ and continents’ economic development”, she added.

Furthermore, the dialogue highlighted the need for adolescent friendly access to health services, and the urge to support the implementation of the AU Roadmap to Harness the Demographic Dividend (DD), and for partners to coordinate their efforts towards harnessing the DD and support to OAFLA commitments.

Meanwhile, the General Assembly of OAFLA elected the First Lady of Ethiopia, Mrs. Roman Tesfaye as OAFLA President for the period 2017 to 2019, while Burkina Faso’s First Lady, Madame Adjoavi Sika KABORE was elected Vice President of OAFLA for the same period.
First ladies in Africa have played a vital role in building awareness, addressing social and economic development agendas and harnessing political commitment to the AIDS response and the broader health and development agenda particularly geared towards women, children and youth.
The Prime Minister’s entourage included the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other senior government officers.

Source: LENA 06/07/2017


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