Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Honorable Auxillia Mnangagwa and UNAIDS Country Director, Mr Girmay Haile today agreed to embark on a historic partnership where the First Lady expressed commitment to play a strategic national and international advocacy role in ending HIV and AIDS.
In a meeting held this morning at the First Lady’s office at Zimbabwe House, Mr. Girmary Haile, UNAIDS Country Director in Zimbabwe briefed the First Lady on upcoming events of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) – an organisation affiliated with UNAIDS and outlined on the unique role that the First Lady 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, in what will be a historic first time for a Zimbabwe First Lady to attend.
Mr. Haile informed HE Amai Mnangagwa 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. This appointment is a prestigious appointment given to active First Ladies and those who join the OAFLA.
Expressing her readiness to showcase Zimbabwe’s achievement in the fight against HIV and AIDS and to champion national and international advocacy efforts to end HIV and AIDS, First Lady Mnangagwa said, “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.”
The First Lady said she was ready to “run into action on the ground” in support of efforts underway by Government together with UNAIDS and citizens to end HIV and AIDS pandemic in Zimbabwe. The First Lady also reiterated her commitment to intensify advocacy efforts to address other prevalent social ills such as 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.
Expressing gratitude for her commitments, the UNAIDS Country Director welcomed the participation of the First Lady in the upcoming 20th Ordinary General Assembly, which will be held from 25-29 January 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as the first Zimbabwean First Lady and setting a very positive precedence going into the future.
Noting that 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/AIDS insignia.