The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has welcomed the expansion of the scope of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA).
She said the expansion tied in well with all the areas that her organisation, the Rebecca Foundation, was working on.
Mrs Akufo-Addo said this when she was briefed on the outcome of deliberations at the technical session of OAFLA that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last Saturday.
The First Lady is in Addis Ababa to participate in the 22nd Ordinary General Assembly of OAFLA.
She was briefed by members of the technical advisory committee of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) to OAFLA.
The general assembly will affirm the change of name from OAFLA to the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OFLAD) and the launch of its 2019 to 2023 strategic plan.
The acting Director-General of the GAC, Mr Steve Kyeremeh Atuahene, who led his organisation in the briefing, said with the change of the name of the organisation, the First Ladies would work on six thematic areas — non-communicable diseases (NCDs), gender equality, women and youth empowerment, reproduction, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH), social security and protection, including persons with disabilities, institutional capacity strengthening, as well as HIV and AIDS.
Mr Atuahene said following its new outlook, the organisation was now looking at vulnerable populations and, therefore, each First Lady was expected to work within the broad thematic areas, so that they would align themselves to the new OFLAD 2019-2023 strategic plan.
He said it was discussed at the technical advisory meeting that the expansion of the scope of the First Ladies, with their new directions, would attract more donor funding for their activities.
Mr Atuahene said the OAFLA Secretariat was going to work closely with member states on their operational plans which would be country specific, depending on national priorities and interests of the various First Ladies.
After the briefing, Mrs Akufo-Addo expressed delight at the expansion of OAFLA’s scope and said so far all the areas that she had worked on back home were all aligned to the new strategic plan.
She said the Rebecca Foundation would continue to work to better the lives of the vulnerable in Ghana and mentioned its areas of focus to include the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and AIDS, promoting girls’ literacy and maternal and neonatal health.
Present at the briefing was the Ghana Government’s Advisor on HIV and AIDS, Dr Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi, who is also the immediate past Director-General of the GAC.
Later in the day, the First Lady participated in an OAFLA steering committee meeting, during which Kenya’s First Lady, Mrs Margaret Kenyatta, was elected in absentia as the Vice-President of the organisation.
The position became vacant after Roman Tsefaye, wife of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemarian Desalegn, stepped down after her husband resigned.
The current president of OAFLA, Mrs Adwovi Sika Kabore, First Lady of Burkina Faso, who was then her vice-president, became the president.