Two days after getting honored with the Osagyefo Pan Africa Eminence Awards For 2016 with the Most Charismatic and Influential First Lady of the year award by the Confederation of Governance Assessment Institute, the First Lady, is back in the Central Regional town of Bawjiase with her Lordina Foundation, Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV (OAFLA) and Ghana Aids Commission.
Through the instrumentality of Mrs. Lordina Mahama, Ghana has been able to reduce annual AIDS deaths by 43 percent and achieved 50 percent reduction in transmission of HIV from mother-to-child.
With support from UNAIDS, the country treated 66 percent of infected pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and prevalence of HIV among exposed babies has reduced significantly to 8 percent at birth and 21percent after breastfeeding from 32 percent.
First Lady Lordina announced this when she addressed a gathering at Bawjiase prior to a health screening organized by the Lordina Foundation in collaboration with the Ghana Chapter of OAFLA and Ghana Aids Commission.
Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission is important for the reductionof the risk of transmitting HIV from mothers to their children. Against this background, the Lordina Foundation has been conducting advocacy on Prevention of Mother-to Child Transmission of HIV, and Keeping Mothers Alive, to support the country’s efforts to eliminate Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV.
The health outreach programme, has taken the Lordina Foundation to eight regions namely; Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Western, Central, Greater Accra, Volta and Ashanti regions.
Mrs. Mahama noted that in spite of these successes there are challenges that threatens to undermine the success if stakeholders in the health sector do not double their efforts, and work together, to address the remaining and new challenges, in Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission.
She mentioned traditions that disempower women from taking personal decisions on their health;culture of fear, discrimination and non-acceptance of HIV status by male counterparts as some of the challenges.
‘’It is for these reasons that this advocacy that I am spearheading, stresses community involvement, and the involvement of men, in supporting their partners to access HIV and reproductive health services’’ the First lady noted.
She added that adolescents continue to experience, elevated HIV vulnerability, with the greatest risk of exposure yet until recently, they have hardly been at the centre of discussions, at the global and national levels.
The surest way to move Ghana towards an HIV free future, through the Prevention of Mother-to-Child-Transmission, safe sex and reduction of stigma; and significantly reduce the number of cervical and breast cancers, that occur in society the First lady believes,is by encouraging women to test for HIV and conduct regular breast self-examination.
She expressed the commitment of government to continue to place importance on and implement the National Strategic Plan 2016-2020 on HIV/AIDS and work towards achieving fast-track targets of 90% of People Living with HIV know their status, 90% of People Living with HIV on Antiretroviral treatment and 90% immune suppression.
Director General of the Ghana Aids Commission, Dr. Angela El Adas for her part said considering the busy schedule of women they hardly find time to visit the hospital for regular checkup hence the medical outreach to bring healthcare to the doorsteps of women. She indicated that out of every ten people, seven people made up of women and children are affected with HIV.
Dr. El Adas entreated women to be concerned about their health and find time to visit the hospital on regular basis, since their health is more important than any other thing.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hannah Tetteh, who doubles as the Member for Parliament for Awutu Senya thanked the First Lady for organizing the health screening for the people of Bawjiase who fall under her constituency. She assured the First Lady she would do her best to ensure that the people take advantage of the screening.
Queenstar Maame Pokuah Sawyerr who is the Deputy Central Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Agona urged the people to vote based on the developmental projects being undertaken by President Mahama.
The people of Bawjiase and its environs were tested for HIV, screened for Cervical and breast cancers, syphilis and other reproductive health diseases.
The First Lady’s Foundation, was recently honored with the Best Charitable Foundation in Africa award.
Mrs. Mahama’s recognition, came as a result of her persistent interest in humanitarian, health and social issues for many years.
A citation presented to the First Lady proclaimed “Her Excellency Lordina Mahama has been undoubtedly the most charismatic and influential First Lady in Africa sub region for the past years apparent in the significant supportive role she plays as a wife of the President of a republic where expectations and demands are too overwhelming to anyone who holds that office.
Her Excellency Lordina Mahama’s reactions to public issues and commentaries depicts her charismatic nature and the influence she has on the citizenry especially girl-child. Her Excellency Lordina Mahama’s advocate against child marriage, child labour, breast and cervical cancer, HIV prevention and adolescent sexual reproductive health has been phenomenal within these past years’’.
The First Lady’s nationwide medical supplies to health facilities in all ten regions of the country, her support and efforts to help prevent breast and cervical cancers and HIV in Ghana, her dedication and determination to provide shelter and vocational training for the inmates and residence of the Gambaga Witches Camp, coupled with her adoption of several orphanages across Ghana and constantly providing them with food, clothing and other essentials all contributed to her recognition and award.
Recognizing the need to assist people who are engaged in vocational training to expand their businesses and improve upon their income-earning capacity as providing skills and vocational training, to create opportunities for girls and women Mrs. Mahama added support to artisans to the modules of the Lordina Foundation of which she is the President.
Mrs. Lordina Mahama, earlier this year launched a campaign to end child marriage at the sidelines of the 7th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights held in Accra.
Recently, the First lady, joined her colleague Ivorian First Lady to sign a joint declaration to fight against human trafficking and worst forms of child labour.
These are efforts geared towards making life comfortable for the citizenry especially women and children and it’s not surprising that the Lordina Foundation was honored the Best Charitable Foundation in Africa.
A citation presented to the foundation stated, “Lordina Foundation has proven itself to be the most passionate and vibrant foundation for the most vulnerable in Africa. Its quest of having compassion on the needy and aiding them in all aspectof life earned them this accolade’’.
The Lordina Foundation, since it was launched, has focused on its primary objective, which is to cater for destitute and vulnerable children and women so as to bridge the gap between the fortunate and the unfortunate, particularly in areas of education, healthcare and vocational training. With the help of its sponsors the foundation has done significantly and enormous donations to individuals and organizations across the country.