Fiona Ruzha, H-Metro Reporter
FIRST LADY Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa has vowed to provide countrywide leadership and advocacy on behalf of women, children and marginalised populations.
This includes tackling issues of ending the AIDS epidemic and non-communicable diseases.
Family Health Director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Benard Madzima spoke on behalf of the First Lady during the consultative stakeholder’s meeting aimed at developing the strategic plan for the engagement of the First Lady as well as the implementation plan for the Free to Shine Campaign which is being spearheaded under the banner of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD).
First Lady, who is the health ambassador and also recently selected as the vice president of OAFLAD, said it is our collective responsibility as Zimbabweans to work towards the realisation of a new generation of children free of HIV.
“This is entirely possible as the Ministry of Health and Child Care has services available including anti-retroviral medicines that can be administered to HIV positive women and men living with HIV to prevent transmission of HIV to the baby.
“As a country, we also wish to have our children protected from mother to child transmission of syphilis.
“As such, we should also focus on tackling the issue syphilis in pregnant women; a sexually transmitted infection which can be treated easily with penicillin injections,” she said.
In August last year, Amai Mnangagwa launched the Free to Shine Campaign for Zimbabwe; an initiative under OAFLAD to help end childhood AIDS in Zimbabwe by 2030 and to keep mothers healthy as per the African Union’s catalytic framework to end AIDS, TB and eliminate malaria in Africa by 2030.
“The Free to Shine Campaign also looks at the issues of adolescent girls and young women and on the engagement of men around HIV prevention, care and treatment.
“I am committed to working with adolescent girls and young women, and to addressing issues such as child marriages, teenage pregnancies and high school dropout rates that are of major concern to this vulnerable group.
“In support of my work as vice president of OAFLAD, I should, and I will provide country-wide leadership and relentless advocacy on behalf of vulnerable groups, including women and children who bear the brunt of poverty and social marginalisation.
“I want to let you all know that I am deeply committed to supporting resource mobilisation efforts at the national, continental and global levels,” said First Lady.
At the 20th General Assembly of the Organization of African First Ladies against AIDS (OAFLA) convened in January 2018, OAFLA was renamed the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD).
The change of name was in recognition of the work that First Ladies on the African continent do in contributing towards Africa’s overall development.