Malawian First Lady, Madam Gertrude Mutharika on Wednesday called for support to the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA).
Madam Mutharika was speaking at a high level meeting held on the sidelines of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA, currently underway.
The theme of the event was ‘Improving the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescent girls: The role of First Ladies’.
Malawi First Lady Mutharika, who is also OAFLA Vice Chairperson, said in her closing speech that Africa’s First Ladies were fully committed to addressing health issues affecting adolescent girls on the continent.
She, however, said that the organization would only be able to achieve its goals if it was supported, and urged the private sector and other well-wishers to join hands with OAFLA.
OAFLA was established as a collective voice for Africa’s most vulnerable people, women and children infected and affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
The organisation comprises African First Ladies active members, each with a national Chapter that is engaged in work related to HIV and AIDS, maternal and health, cervical and breast cancer.
According to the United Nations Population Division, the estimated adolescent population aged 10-19 in Malawi was 3.8 in 2013.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS estimates that 48, 000 adolescent girls aged 10-19 were living with HIV the same year.
And in 2013, there were an estimated 6,900 deaths among adolescents in the country, while globally nearly 120,000 adolescents died of AIDS-related diseases.
In her opening remarks, Ghana’s First Lady who is OAFLA Chairperson, Lordina Dramani Mahama, said AIDS was the leading cause of death among women and girls of reproductive age 15-49.
Mahama, quoting the World Health Organization, said about 14 million children worldwide had been orphaned due to AIDS.