The Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OFLAD) has ended its two-day 25th Ordinary General Assembly held virtually with a call on first ladies on the continent to work more at helping the vulnerable combat the COVID-19 scourge.
The meeting, which was on the theme “Showing resilience in the face of COVID-19 by building on past gains and learning from challenges of the present”, saw first ladies participating from their home countries virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the world.
As part of the meeting, the first ladies from various African countries gave an account on the work they had done to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the vulnerable and their vision for this year.
Ghana’s First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, in her virtual presentation said the year 2020 had been one of the most difficult for the world, with enormous burden on health services, loss of lives, loss of income and social dislocation.
She said to help mitigate the impact of the disease on the vulnerable in the country, the Rebecca Foundation’s COVID-19 response, included support to women, the aged, children and special needs schools.
“We provided face masks, hand sanitiser, food and toiletries to curb the spread of the virus, as most of the recipients live in densely populated areas,” she said.
“Additionally, with support from donors, we supplied personal protective equipment (PPE) to health facilities to protect health workers on the frontline of the pandemic,” she added.
“With our COVID treatment facilities operating at full capacity, the Rebecca Foundation, continuing its COVID-19 relief efforts, has begun 2021, by supplying hospital beds to six COVID treatment centres, to increase their admission capacity,” the First Lady said.
She said as the pandemic rages, the foundation would engage with more partners to provide PPE and other medical equipment to health facilities, support women’s businesses with small grants, advocate adherence to safety protocols and help the most vulnerable.
She called on fellow first ladies to continue to share ideas and work fervently to rid the world of the pandemic.
The President of OAFLAD and First Lady of the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, Mrs Antoinette Sassou-Nguesso, in an opening remark, said Africa could rise up against the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic if they continued to fight it together.
She urged her fellow first ladies to continue to work hard to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the vulnerable and also make interventions that would help elevate their plight amidst the scare.