Malawian First Lady Gertrude Mutharika on Tuesday presided over her first General Assembly of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) as President of the organization at the African Union Headquaters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The 18th Ordinary General Assembly of the OAFLA is taking place on the sidelines of the ongoing 28th Ordinary Heads of State and Government Summit of the African Union (AU).
Speaking when she opened the assembly, Madam Mutharika, hailed African First Ladies for the strong stand they have taken in eradicating HIV/AIDS in Africa.
“The story of OAFLA is a story of success amidst challenges. It is a story of progress in the face of numerous stumbling blocks that stood our way. It is also a story of conquest as we stand sure and firm in the battle against AIDS
“Our nations may differ in geographical size and in our socioeconomic profiles. But I am glad to be here and talk about one thing that unites us. We are united in our collective and burning desire to end poverty and entrench processes for sustainable development,” Madam Mutharika said.
The Malawi First Lady further called upon African First Ladies to renew their commitment and find ways of harnessing the demographic dividend in their effort against HIV and AIDS by strategically diverting more attention to young men and women, girls and boys who comprise a majority of the African population.
“I am confident that this 18th Ordinary General Assembly of OAFLA will result into a communiqué which will trigger action from all of us. The outcome of this General Assembly must be the source of transformation of our peoples into healthy populations and a launch pad for moving Africa from poverty to prosperity without leaving the youth behind,” she said.
Madam Mutharika also hailed OAFLA’s established partners who include, UNAIDS, UNFPA, the World Health Organisation, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the African Union Commission, the China-Africa Business Council (CABC) and the Alere Incorporation. for their continued commitment and for supporting the organization since the formation of the organization 15 years ago.