Mrs Samira Bawumia, Wife of the Vice President, says in the face of declining resources for development agencies, civil society organisations and regional communities need to adopt innovative approaches to end Tuberculosis, Malaria and HIV/AIDS.
She said the various partners needed to learn from previous programmes that had been initiated and implemented globally, and replicate their successes in countries with the disease burden to help eradicate them.
At the close of the Anglophone Africa Community Rights and Gender Meeting hosted in Accra, Mrs Bawumia said it was possible to achieve success in addressing health issues affecting countries but it was imperative that “we all work assiduously towards success”.
She said greater engagement was also needed between partners in civil society including community and faith-based groups to support efforts by governments to ensure the Continent had healthy people at all times.
“Good health is essential to sustained socio-economic development and poverty reduction. Access to needed health services is crucial for maintaining and improving health.
“The time is right for us to push towards achieving a Universal Health Coverage as envisaged in the UN SDGs so all can have access to quality affordable health care.
“We need to promote the health of everyone, especially of our children and women,” Mrs Bawumia said.
The five-day meeting, from April 23 to 27, was co-hosted by the Hope for Future Generations and the Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS and Health Service Organizations (EANNASO).
It brought together participants from 24 countries including Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Botswana, Swaziland and Uganda.
Participants discussed civil society engagement in the Global Fund with increased focus on human rights and the development of gender responsive instruments for vulnerable populations in terms of HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The meeting also reviewed the HerVoice Fund, a Global Fund’s community rights and gender strategic initiative, being implemented in 13 countries to help mobilise the adolescent girls and young women in Africa to contribute to policy decisions aimed at reducing HIV and AIDS.
Mrs Bawumia commended HFFG, EANNASO and other partners for organising the meeting, which sought to, among other things, improve the impact of Global Fund’s programmes, interventions, and diseases responses as well as expand access to technical assistance for civil society and community.
She said the sustenance of the Global Fund for continued advocacy and the implementation of programmes to address the health challenges were critical to minimising the effects of those epidemics on humans, particularly the marginalised and vulnerable.
Mrs Bawumia pledged her support to the activities and commitment to work with the non-state actors and other CSOs to significantly reduce HIV, TB and malaria.
Ms Yvonne Catherine Kahimbuda, the Technical Support Centre Programme Officer of ENNASO, said the “HerVoice” Project was already assisting countries to support the meaningful engagement of adolescent girls and young women in Global Fund and national policy processes relevant to adolescent girls and youth.
She said the 13 countries implementing the initiative within sub-Sahara Africa were those with a higher HIV and AIDS disease burden being South Africa, Botswana, Cameroun, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania, Swaziland, and Namibia.
She said the initiative, introduced in January 2018, would be rolled out to other countries within the Region after the first pilot phase was over within a year.
Dr Shakira Choonara, the Regional Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Advocacy Officer, implementing partners of HerVoice initiative, said despite the efforts by governments, partners and civil society groups to reduce the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS, it continued to spread among the youth in many countries.
“And so adolescent girls and young women are being engaged under the initiative to support and help reduce the disease burden of HIV and AIDS on the Continent.
She said the HerVoice Fund would facilitate adolescent girls and young women to access to policy making spaces and bring out measures at reducing the diseases.