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Youth and AIDS in Africa

The 5 Proposals of Dominique Ouattara
The 5 Proposals of Dominique Ouattara
The 5 Proposals of Dominique Ouattara

On the sidelines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Organization of African First Ladies on HIV / AIDS (OPDAS) organized a high-level meeting on global partnership on Tuesday, September 19th 2017 to harness the demographic dividend in Africa.

Therefore, two panels were organized under two themes: "Implementing the African Union Roadmap to Harness the Demographic Dividend in Africa: Ensuring Youth-Friendly Health Services Where They Are Necessary And "Implementing the African Union Roadmap to Harness the Population Dividend in Africa: Ending AIDS by 2030."

Invited to give her vision during this panel, the First Lady of Côte d'Ivoire, Mrs. Dominique Ouattara said: "... It is clear that the youth of our continent remains vulnerable. They remain exposed to a certain extent to precariousness, to the low level of education, as well as to the lack of health care for certain pathologies ", noted Mrs. Ouattara.

That is why she called for the union and intensification of actions to improve the living conditions of young people and adolescents in Africa.

According to the African Union (AU) roadmap, the First Lady of Côte d'Ivoire believes that more investment is needed in the continent's youth, particularly in the fields of education, health and financial empowerment.

In addition, the First Lady of Côte d'Ivoire has made five (05) proposals to significantly eradicate HIV / AIDS among young people.

According to the First Lady of Côte d'Ivoire, there is a need to intensify the provision of prevention services for young people and adolescents through targeted communication on behavior change

Secondly, social protection should be promoted for all HIV / AIDS-related pathologies, with particular emphasis on access to care and medicines, particularly in rural areas.

She also said that access to sexual and reproductive health services should be promoted, while advocating for free contraceptives in both programs and antiretrovirals.

Fourthly, the wife of the Ivorian Head of State underlined the need to strengthen the care of young people living with HIV / AIDS through the development of integrated health structures. "In Côte d'Ivoire, the government has authorized the delegation of tasks that allows all health professionals to prescribe antiretrovirals for the treatment of opportunistic diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis," testified the First Lady of Ivory Coast.

Finally, the First Lady of Côte d'Ivoire noted that efforts to eliminate gender-based violence, with particular emphasis on the treatment of obstetric fistula which is a real public health problem. "All these actions in favor of our young people will be all the more achievable if we allow them to have a financial autonomy," she concluded.

These proposals were much appreciated, and the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire was even entitled to a standing ovation from the Assembly.

The First Ladies have therefore pledged to work not only in partnership to advocate for policy commitments, but also with the African Union (AU) Commission, the Regional Economic Communities, civil society organizations, United Nations agencies and the private sector will mobilize resources to prioritize investment in the health of women and youth.

The First Ladies also reiterated the need to take advantage of the demographic dividend in Africa because of its high proportion of young people and to mobilize public and private investment.

The final communiqué of this high-level meeting was read by the First Lady of Burkina Faso, Mrs. Sika Bella Kaboré, and recorded the participation of the First Ladies of Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Panama.

But long before, the First Lady visited the Ricardo Espirito Santo Silva Foundation on Tuesday 12th September 2017, together with the Ministers of Culture of Côte d'Ivoire and Portugal. This Foundation works for the promotion of crafts and the restoration of ancient works. It was in 1953 that this institution was created by Mr. Ricardo Espirito, former banker, art lover and collector in his lost times.

The Foundation has a museum, 18 restoration workshops of ancient art and two (02) schools for young people.

"I was particularly impressed with the work done in these workshops. It is a work that today, unfortunately lost, a very beautiful craft work in the fields of wood, textile, marquetry, goldsmithing. I think that Côte d'Ivoire has a lot to learn in this area. We have thought with the Ministers about exchanges with our schools, "said Mrs. Dominique Ouattara after the visit of the Foundation.

In the framework of cultural exchanges, the Direction of the Ricardo Espirito Foundation expressed his willingness to welcome Ivorian youth in his workshops.

The First Lady, Dominique Ouattara, was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Portugal by the President of the Portuguese Republic for her charitable activities in Africa.