The 26th Extraordinary General Assembly of the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) is being held in Brazzaville, Congo, on June 9 and 10 on the theme: “Twenty years in service of the most vulnerable in Africa.”
The meeting coincides with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the OAFLAD, set up by wives of the various Presidents and Heads of State of Africa to unite and serve as a voice for the Continent’s most vulnerable; women and children living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
The meeting is being hosted by Mrs Antoinette Sassou Nguesso, the first lady of the Republic of Congo, who is also the President of OAFLAD.
Mrs Nguesso, who took office in October 2019 would hand over the presidency to another first lady at the meeting, having served her full term in office.
As part of the Extraordinary General Assembly, to be attended by first ladies, including Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Ghana’s First Lady, OAFLAD would host a panel on health financing for sustainable programmes.
The panel would bring together experts and policymakers to provide a balanced and holistic perspective on how health financing is central to sustainable development in Africa.
The panellists are expected to share different perspectives on the challenges, opportunities, and importance of different dimensions of healthcare financing and how this is central to broader sustainable development on the continent.
Twenty years ago, some 37 first ladies of Africa came together to form the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA) now OAFLAD, with a mission that had evolved into a high-level platform for advocacy and resource mobilization for HIV as well as maternal and child health interventions.
By their positions, the First Ladies have a unique platform to raise awareness and advocate for policies that make life-saving health services accessible to those most vulnerable across the continent.
Records made available to the Ghana News Agency in Brazzaville indicate that since, OAFLAD’s inception, health outcomes have improved drastically through a concerted global effort led by the first ladies, among countries.
Also, the rate of HIV and AIDS deaths is over three times lower today than in 2002, while the rates of deaths from maternal and neonatal disorders are over 1.5 times lower, and rates of death from one of the biggest childhood killers, malaria, are two times lower.