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General News of Saturday, 28 April 2018

Source: Attah-Effah Badu

Second Lady lauds efforts of CSOs in public health

Second Lady, Samira Bawumia addressing representatives of   African civil society Second Lady, Samira Bawumia addressing representatives of African civil society

The Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Mrs. Samira Bawumia, has lauded the efforts of civil society organizations and movements towards the advancement of public health globally.

According to Mrs. Bawumia, good health is the foundation to life’s success, hence the roles of these bodies cannot be downplayed, especially in the universal quest to end the menace of Tuberculosis, HIV and Malaria, which kills about 5 million people every year.

The second lady made these remarks while addressing representatives of African civil society and community organizations at the 3rd annual Anglophone Africa Community, Rights and Gender Platform meeting in Accra, on Thursday.

She noted that issues affecting the health of any nation are widespread and addressing them require an approach that ensures that every individual and community, irrespective of their circumstances, should receive the health services they need without risking financial hardship.

She expressed that though a lot of gains have been made in the fight against Malaria, HIV and TB. The burden these diseases have on individuals, communities, and nations are unacceptable and would require more efforts, saying greater engagement is needed between partners in civil society including community - and faith-based groups.

“We all have a role to play – governments, activists, academics and private sector research and development teams, physicians and individual patients. Together, we can protect humanity’s great medical achievements,” Mrs. Bawumia said.

Going forward, the wife of the Vice President of Ghana, therefore pledged to work with civil society actors in Ghana to significantly reduce the menace of HIV, TB and Malaria.

Mrs. Bwumia also praised the efforts of the Global Fund for its commitment towards the prevention and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria across the world.

“Investing in global health is a cost-effective way to achieve greater security, stability and protect communities worldwide. I wish to applaud the Global Fund and its partners for their roles in fighting Malaria, HIV / AIDS and Tuberculosis.”

She stated that since 2002, there has been a one-third decline in the number of people dying from HIV, TB and Malaria in countries where the Global Fund invests.

“Globally, about 22 million lives have been saved; 11 million people are on antiretroviral therapy for HIV – that is more than half the global total, 17.4 million people have received TB treatment and 795 million mosquito nets have been distributed.,” she continued.

Mrs. Bawumia revealed that through Global Fund support, Ghana, for instance, has made profound progress against HIV, TB and malaria, saying the country has maintained a low adult HIV prevalence, declining from 1.8 percent in 2012 to 1.6 percent in 2015.

She added that over the past 10 years, Ghana has achieved 50 percent and 65 percent reductions in malaria in-patient cases and deaths respectively.

The Second Lady was however quick to add that in the face of declining resources for development agencies, civil society organizations (CSOs) and regional communities, need to adopt innovative approaches learning from previous programs that have been initiated and implemented to halt the global menace of TB, HIV and Malaria.

‘’Achieving this will not be easy, but it is not impossible. It is imperative that we all work assiduously towards success,’’ she indicated.

The 3rd annual Anglophone Africa Community, Rights and Gender Platform meeting in Accra was Organised by the Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS Service Organizations (EANNASO) and co-hosted by Hope for Future Generations, and Non-State Actors Ghana; a group of Ghanaian civil society and non-governmental organizations in the health sector.

The Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS Service Organization (EANNASO) is a regional umbrella body bringing together civil society voices to inform policies and improve programming on HIV and health.

The meeting was aimed to further meaningful engagement of civil society and community groups, as well as strengthening civil society and community groups participation in the development of funding request to the global fund.

It was also to improve understanding of capacity development gaps and needs of civil society and community groups .

Participants were drawn from 24 Anglophone countries namely; Angola, Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, and Lesotho.
Others came from: Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan and Swaziland.

Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zanzibar, Mauritius and Zimbabwe make up the list countries delegates came from.

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