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First Lady meets women groups executives

BY: Rebecca Quaicoe Duho
Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the First Lady addressing the women groups executives
Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the First Lady addressing the women groups executives

The First lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has met with selected executives of women groups in Accra to promote the global campaign ‘Free to Shine Campaign’ (F2S) which is aimed at eliminating Mother-to-child-transmission of HIV.

The campaign, which is a global effort to eliminate the possibility of any child being born with HIV, was launched in January this year, and is aimed at ensuring that children are born free of HIV, stay free and end free, while making sure that mothers are also healthy.

The objective of the meeting was to provide the women with the required knowledge and information on the elimination of Mother- to- Child transmission of HIV, and make them envoys of the F2S Campaign being spearheaded by the First Lady.

Maternal health survey

In an address, she said “we know from the 2017 Maternal Health Survey that over 97 per cent of women receive ante-natal care when pregnant.

This is an indication that with a little effort we can achieve our target of ensuring that by 2020 no child is born with HIV, and all mothers are healthy”, she said.

She said attaining this was possible if all women tested and knew their status, received and adhered to treatment, if they tested positive, adding that “attaining this is also possible, when all of us learn the facts and acquire knowledge on how we can eliminate mother to child transmission”.

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According to her there was the need to get the message across to all women to take steps to prevent contracting HIV, test when pregnant for HIV, accept and stay on anti-retroviral treatment if they test positive, saying “we have to make sure that even when a woman is positive, her baby would be born negative”.

Becoming envoys

She called on the executives to be envoys who would get the message out to all women in their various groups and communities, “so that we can achieve the target we have set to eliminate mother to child transmission by 2020”.

She entreated them to set aside a day where the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV would be the main topic for discussions in their meetings saying “we are advocating to reach far and wide so that no woman or child will be left out of this campaign”.

The acting Director of Technical Services of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene, in an address also gave a brief background of the F2S Campaign which he said was an action decided upon by the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) during one of their general assembly meetings to contribute to ending needless HIV infections and AIDS in children.

He said although stigma remained a major challenge to the disease, through advocacy a lot of gains had been made in the area of prevention from mother to child.

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