The Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDs (OAFLA), yesterday elected Zambia’s First Lady, Thandiwe Banda, as the new chairperson during their 10th General Assembly in Equatorial Guinea,.
Chantal Compoare, of Burkina Faso was elected as the vice chair.
Zambia takes over from Ethiopia. Rwanda chaired the organisation from 2004 to 2006.
African First Ladies, as leaders, women, and mothers, have mounted a war against HIV and AIDS, and their main target is to focus on the much needed attention on the special challenges facing families, vulnerable groups including women, children, and the youth, and persons infected by HIV/ AIDS.
According to officials, the leaders want to utilise their roles as First Ladies and join forces with those responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.
“In the meeting, every First Lady comes up with a theme where they assess different issues in their respective countries,” said Radegonde Ndejuru, who represented First Lady Jeannette Kagame at the meeting.
She added that in Rwanda, the main focus was to reduce Mother to Child Transmission of HIV, though initiatives like the family package program.
The program is a comprehensive model introduced in 2001 to complement the clinical components that PMCT offers with a focus on economically empowering families, among other objectives.
She also added that Rwanda’s target is to reduce mother to child transmission of HIV rate to 2 percent by 2015.
The Burkinabe First Lady’s mission in her home country is to fight against female genital mutilation, which she believes can cause death through hemorrhaging or complications during childbirth as well as risks of infection, urinary tract problems and mental trauma.
Worldwide, between 100 and 140 million women have undergone this ordeal, according to estimates from the World Health Organisation. Burkina Faso is among a handful of African nations that has enacted effective legislation banning female genital mutilation.