GENEVA, Switzerland, February 13th, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA) /-An advocacy toolkit to support a campaign by the first ladies of Africa to end childhood HIV and keep mothers healthy has been launched. The toolkit was developed as part of the Free to Shine campaign, an initiative of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) and partners to address the growing complacency in the response to childhood HIV in Africa.
Important gains have been made in the AIDS response for women and children. An estimated 1.5 million new HIV infections among children aged 0–14 years have been averted since 2010 in Africa. The proportion of pregnant women living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy increased from 44% in 2010 to 84% in 2018. However, challenges remain across the continent. AIDS remains the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Only half of all children living with HIV have access to antiretroviral therapy, leaving 742 000 children who are neither tested not treated for HIV. Coverage of services to prevent vertical (mother-to-child) transmission of HIV has stalled in eastern and southern Africa and decreased in western and central Africa in the past three years.
The toolkit sets out three areas that the first ladies should focus their advocacy efforts on: keeping women and girls HIV-free; preventing vertical transmission of HIV; and finding missing children and adolescents living with HIV and ensuring that they receive HIV services. Showing how to take the advocacy focus areas forward, the toolkit sets out the background to the three focus areas and gives key messages. A framework for action outlines how the first ladies should use their unique position to raise awareness, convene stakeholders, take action and promote community leadership.
Speaking at the launch, Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said, “We must focus on what is needed next to achieve progress, accelerate our efforts to keep women and girls HIV-free, prevent HIV transmission from a mother to her baby and find the missing children and adolescents living with HIV.”
“We have made critical strides in the fight to end AIDS, but there’s still so much more to be done. We are seeing mother-to-child transmission rates rising in several countries, and we have to prioritize these vulnerable populations. Only with stronger, targeted programmes and campaigns like Free to Shine can we put women and children’s needs at the centre and achieve a generation free of AIDS,” said Chip Lyons, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
OAFLAD, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and UNAIDS launched the toolkit on 9 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the general assembly meeting of OAFLAD.
Institute wants stakeholders to develop useful curriculum in education
Prof. Esther Akinlabi, Director, Pan African University Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (PAULESI), has called on African education stakeholders to develop school curriculum that can meet the challenges in the sector.
Akinlabi told the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Friday that school curriculum should address the challenges of future of workplace to be relevant on the global stage.
She noted that with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and technological innovation as well as advancements in developed countries, Africa needed to prepare its youths to become relevant.
“The areas that should be looked at has to do with the future of work.
“Things that need to be considered have to do with artificial intelligence, fourth industrial revolution, sustainable development, and secular economy which will enable us to maximise and recycle waste.
“These aspects have been missing from school curriculum.
“Entrepreneurship should also be inculcated into the curriculum,” she said.
She further said that this had become imperative as there were high unemployment rates across the African continent.
“So there is a need for us to recalculate and infuse entrepreneurship skills in the mindset of students.
“So, students graduating from universities are not only looking for white collar jobs.
“We should be able to change the perception and mindset of students such that by graduation, you should be able to stand on your own.
“Think outside the box. Think of a business idea that you can do to be able to fend for yourself. I believe that is the way to go,” she said.
Akinlabi noted that though some universities had inculcated entrepreneurship into their system, “every student must come up with their idea, business proposal and concept developed.
“So that they can have something that they can launch and work on as they are graduating from the university, should they not get a white collar job that they can do.
“PAULESI is not lagging behind on that as it is in the process of having a re-curriculation in November”.
The Pan African University Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (PAULESI) is located in the University of Ibadan and has world class departments involved in the delivery of programmes in life, earth, agriculture and health.
The aim of the Pan African University is to develop institutions of excellence in science, technology, innovation, social sciences and governance, which will constitute the bedrock for an Africa pool of higher education and research.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Kayode Olaitan
FIFA president meets Trump to discuss 2026 World Cup finals
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has met United States president Donald Trump to discuss preparations for the 2026 World Cup, the global football body said on Thursday.
United States are to co-host the finals with Mexico and Canada.
“President Infantino thanked President Trump for his great commitment to the success of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and his engagement in a bright future for football in the United States,” it said.
Infantino also made a courtesy visit to United States Attorney General William Barr where he used the opportunity to “personally thank the United States authorities… for their work in the fight against corruption in football.”
Several dozen football officials, mainly from Latin America and the Caribbean, were indicted in the United States in 2015 on corruption charges leading to the biggest scandal in FIFA’s history.
Several of those have since been jailed.
“Ever since I was elected, we have shown our determination to eradicate the malpractices which tarnished FIFA’s reputation in the past,” Infantino, who was elected in 2016, was quoted as saying.
“I have had similar meetings in Switzerland, and FIFA’s lawyers are also in regular contact with prosecutors and law enforcement agencies wherever and whenever needed,” he added.
“In this way, I am fully convinced that the credibility and reputation of FIFA is being restored at the highest level.”
Infantino himself is the subject of criminal proceedings in his native Switzerland.
These were launched by a special prosecutor looking into meetings the FIFA president had with former Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.
Lauber and Infantino have denied wrongdoing.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
NEPWHAN commends NACA, UNAIDS for initiating HIV self testing roundtable
The National Coordinator of the network, Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.
Ibrahim, who said that the exercise was in line with UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 goals, said it was key to unlocking one of the 90 goals.
He said that self-testing was a roadmap to reducing infection in Nigeria using preventive interventions, having known one’s status.
“Knowing your HIV status is very instrumental in fighting the virus because as soon as you know it, the next step is treatment aimed at suppressing the viral load assuming the status is positive.
The national coordinator advised Nigerians, especially youths to support the exercise by participating in self-testing without fear, aimed at reducing HIV in the country.
NAN reports that the West and Central African Region (WCAR) still registered some of the highest rates of new HIV infections worldwide (16 per cent) in spite of a low prevalence of HIV (1.9 per cent).
In this region, only 48 per cent of people living with HIV were are of their status.
Therefore, being one of the keys to unlocking the first 90 goals as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since 2016.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Ejiofor)
Fed Cup to be renamed Billie Jean King Cup
Almost 60 years after Billie Jean King helped the United States win the inaugural Fed Cup, the team event is being renamed in honour of the greatest trailblazer in women’s tennis.
The competition will from 2021 be known as the Billie Jean King Cup, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said in a statement.
It was revamped this year to feature a 12-nation finals week to rival the men’s Davis Cup.
This year’s finals, scheduled for Budapest in April, were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
King, a 12-times Grand Slam singles champion and the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), said she was “humbled” to have the competition named after her.
“Very proud, very humbled,” the 76-year-old told Reuters by telephone. “I keep thinking it’s a dream. And then I start thinking about what an opportunity this is to help the game grow globally.
“(The Federation Cup) was 63 years behind the Davis Cup but we’ve gone from 16 to 116 nations.
“We have equal prize money to the Davis Cup and this sends out an important and strong message of equality.”
The Billie Jean Cup, sponsored by BNP Paribas, is the first major global team competition to be named after a woman.
Next year’s Finals in Hungary will boast 12 million dollars in prize money, equivalent to the revamped Davis Cup.
ITF President David Haggerty paid tribute to King’s fight for gender equality in sports and society.
“From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious United States team in 1963, founding the WTA and becoming its first president, to being the first female athlete awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King has never stopped breaking new ground,” Haggerty said.
“Today she adds another `first’ to that list. The new name is a fitting tribute to everything she has achieved.”
King was part of the team that won the inaugural competition, then known as the Federation Cup, in London in 1963.
She won it seven times as a player and four as captain and was appointed its first Global Ambassador last year.
“There is nothing quite like the feeling of representing your country and being part of a team, which is why this competition is so special and important to me,” she said.
“Our job is to share this vision with future generations of young girls, because if you can see it, you can be it.”
France, Russia, Hungary, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, the United States, Spain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland will contest next year’s inaugural Billy Jean King Cup Finals.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)