The First Lady, has called for the support of all in Africa’s quest to provide comprehensive, and modern care, and support for People Living with HIV, particularly, children living with the virus.
She noted that, despite successes achieved in the last decade in rolling back HIV and AIDS, the disease remains one of the major public health challenges worldwide without the countries, Ghana and China not being an exception. This she said calls for the involvement of all to address the issue of HIV.
She made the call at the media open of “Love under the Sun: China-Africa Summer Camp for Children Orphaned by AIDS” event, jointly organized by Ghana and China in Accra.
The ‘‘Love under the Sun – China-Africa Summer Camp for Children Orphaned by AIDS” is an activity initiated by the Chinese Association of STD and AIDS Prevention and Control to care for the children affected by AIDS.
Since 2010, the summer Camp, has been successfully held for six times. The Summer Camp aims to open the Children’s view through sightseeing tour and interesting training activities, which will make them relax, feel others care for them and improve their mental and physical health
The First Lady stated, “Today, an estimated number of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand (250,000) Ghanaians, are living with the virus, and its attendant socio-economic implications. The World Health Organization ranks AIDS, as the sixth leading cause of death globally”.
She said even though significant achievements have been made,in the response against HIV and AIDS in Africa, throughout the last decade, the disease continues to have adverse impact on the lives of children, and families worldwide with Sub-Saharan Africa being the most affected.
She commended the First Lady of China, Prof. Peng Liyan, and the Chinese government for their support in the quest to provide the best of care, and guidance for the children affected by HIV and AIDS. Adding that “We cannot deny the fact that our national response, to HIV and AIDS, could not have attained the gains it has made so far, without the partnership of our local and international stakeholders’.
Mrs. Mahama stated that she was impressed at the progress realized in the fight against HIV and AIDS working through her leadership, of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), with the support of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service.
Notable among them include heightened Prevention-of-Mother-To-Child-Transmission advocacy, integrated outreaches, to many communities, offering HIV Testing Services, maternal health and attitudinal change education, in addition to health screening, for other illnesses.
“We have also established strong partnerships, that enable us to provide assistance, to health facilities especially in deprived areas, in the form of medical supplies, equipment and consumables, mammograms, x-ray machines, among others” she disclosed.
In February this year, together with her sister African First Ladies, OAFLA launched the Campaign to End Child Marriages,as well as the Adolescent “All-in Campaign” in Ghana.
She pledged her continued commitment to the fight against child marriage, not only in Ghana, but also on the entire continent of Africa.
“Being the First Lady, as well as being a mother; it is my prayer that the summer camp will inspire greater paediatric care, protection of orphaned children and the promotion of the rights of People Living with HIV, particularly children living with the disease” she stated..
The First Lady indicated that the right of children affected by HIV and AIDS to education, health, and the freedom to live their dreams, are dear to her heart and that all must come together to advocate for this.
For her part, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Sun Baohong, said children are the hope for the future and are in need of special care and help. She indicated that AIDS orphans belong to the special vulnerable group in society therefore government attention and support should be strengthened to help them grow up healthily and happily.
“AIDS orphans have the same equal right to education as other children. Communities and school cannot refuse to accept them “ she emphasized.
The Lordina Foundation and the Chinese embassy, gave each participant of the ‘‘Love under the Sun – China-Africa Summer Camp for Children Orphaned by AIDS” financial support.
This is the first time for the Chinese Association of STD and AIDS Prevention and Control to invite foreign delegations to attend the Summer Camp. All delegations come from Africa namely Ghana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.