The decision of OAFLA to engage into maternal neonatal and child health has been mainly justified by the dire need implied by the statistical evidence. Many women are dying from pregnancy-related causes on our continent. It is estimated that on average 450 women die every day from pregnancy-related causes. More than half of maternal deaths occur in sub- Saharan Africa1. The well-being of the mother is key to insuring the survival of the child, because it was found out that children who lost their mothers are less likely to celebrate their second birthday.
The Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) has come a long way since its establishment in 2002. Reflecting back, OAFLA was established by 37 African First Ladies as a mere collective voice of Africa’s most vulnerable people. Today OAFLA has more than forty (40) African First Ladies as it active members, each leading their national chapters to do exemplary work in the areas of HIV/AIDS, empowering women and children. OAFLA is administered by a Permanent Secretariat with the oversight of a Steering Committee.
The establishment of the OAFLA Permanent Secretariat in Addis Ababa since 2012 has led to a better coordination of OAFLA activities within the region and has centralized fund raising and partnership initiatives. It has also provided a tangible accountability mechanism for the organization with its steering committee.
Formal partnership agreements with a number of regional and international organizations have allowed OAFLA to flourish over the past decade.