As part of the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA) initiative, Her Excellency Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo launched the Free to Shine Campaign to end towards elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in children at LEKMA Hospital in Teshie, Accra, on the 24th January, 2019.
The Free to Shine Campaign is a continental and national enterprise which seeks to end AIDS in children and keep mothers living with HIV alive and healthy.
The objectives of this campaign are:
- Mobilize all women in their reproductive age to access and utilize Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services
- Strengthen follow-up actions for improved Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) coverage, eliminate AIDS in children and keep mothers alive
- Reduce HIV and AIDS related stigma and discrimination
- Foster community involvement and participation in ending AIDS in children
The campaign is in line with the global agenda to end AIDS in children under the theme “Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission: The Key to an HIV-free Generation and Keeping Mothers Alive”. This theme highlights the need for babies to start life free of HIV, remain HIV free and for mothers living with HIV to be strong and healthy.
The Free to Shine Campaign seeks to improve access and patronage of quality antenatal care services that include HIV testing, placement on anti-retroviral medicines if tested positive for HIV and continuous follow-up of mother and baby. These services are the surest means of keeping the baby HIV free and mother healthy.
Ghana has made significant progress in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Programme. Currently more than 50% of health facilities including a number of Community Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds provide PMTCT services.
Her Excellency, the First Lady, as a member of the Organization of Africa First Ladies Against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA), in collaboration with Ghana AIDS Commission, is championing this campaign. The Free to Shine Campaign will feature diverse activities at the national, regional and community levels. The campaign activities will include; development and dissemination of high impact communication materials, engagement of relevant community structures, social and resource mobilization and support the provision of HIV and Family Planning Services.
The Free to Shine Campaign is a collaborative effort of OAFLA Ghana Chapter, Ghana AIDS Commission, Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and UNAIDS.
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