FIRST Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday met UNAIDS country director Mr Girmay Haile at Zimbabwe House and pledged to play a national and international advocacy role in the fight against HIV and Aids.
In a meeting held at the First Lady’s office at Zimbabwe House, Mr Haile briefed the First Lady on upcoming events of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA) — an organisation affiliated with UNAIDS and outlined the unique role that she could play in ending HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe and globally.
The First Lady is due to attend the OAFLA General Assembly this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mr Haile briefed the First Lady on the UNAIDS tradition to engage First Ladies for high level advocacy on HIV, empowerment of young women and adolescent girls and elimination of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in their respective countries.
The First Lady said she was ready to fight HIV and Aids and to champion national and international advocacy efforts to end the pandemic.
“I am a field person and I will be delighted to take initiatives that will improve the lives and livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe particularly those who are most in need, marginalised and at high risk.”
She pledged to “run into action on the ground” in support of efforts underway by Government together with UNAIDS and citizens to end the HIV and Aids pandemic in Zimbabwe.
The First Lady also reiterated her commitment to intensify advocacy efforts to address other prevalent social ills like child marriages, early pregnancy, reproductive health rights, cervical and breast cancer as well as other issues that affect adolescent girls and young women, including vulnerable communities.
Mr Haile welcomed the participation of Amai Mnangagwa in the upcoming 20th Ordinary General Assembly, which will be held from January 25-29 2018, in Addis Ababa.
Noting the upcoming General Assembly meeting as a strategic platform to share experiences with other First Ladies from Africa and international partners in the fight against HIV and Aids, Mr Haile thanked the First Lady on behalf of the UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr Michele Sidibe.
In recognition of her readiness and commitment to contribute to ending HIV and AIDS, reducing maternal and infant mortality, curbing cervical cancer, and ending child marriages and early pregnancy in Zimbabwe, Mr Haile accorded the First Lady with a Sustainable Development Goals and HIV and Aids insignia.