Harare Zimbabwe will on 24 to 25 May host a high-level meeting of the GlobalPOWER Women Network Africa under the theme;Accelerating Action for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality in the area of HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights:Getting to Zero in Africa.
The meeting will be held by the African Union in collaboration with UNAIDS. At least 300 women parliamentarians, leading African women entrepreneurs, civil society leaders, and development partners from Africa and beyond are expected to gather in Harare for the meeting.
Tawanda Chisango UNAIDS Communications Officer says the meeting will serve as a strategic political platform to advance innovative game-changing approaches that positively impact the lives of women and girls in Africa in relation to HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and to accelerate action on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular Goals 3, 4, 5 and 6.
More women than men in Africa are living with HIV. In 2010, women accounted for 59% of people living with HIV on the continent, with young women, aged 15 to 24, being at particular risk and in some countries up to six times more likely to be infected than young men of the same age.
In 2010, an estimated 390 000 children under 15 years were newly infected with HIV globally—of that total, 350 000 were in Africa. More than half of all maternal deaths are estimated to occur in Africa, with an average maternal mortality ratio of 620 per 100 000 live births—a significant proportion by AIDS-related causes.
“These strikingly high figures are attributed to multiple socio-economic and cultural factors, including gender inequalities and gender based-violence, which exacerbate the risk of HIV infection among women and girls,” Chisango says.
Against this backdrop, the GlobalPOWER Women Network Africa has organised a high-level meeting to generate action for women’s empowerment and the advancement of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of women and girls.
The outcome of the meeting will be a “Harare Call to Action” to reaffirm the GlobalPOWER Women Network Africa’s commitment to the key issues related to women and girls. After the meeting, the Call to Action will be tabled at the AU Heads of State Summit in Lilongwe, Malawi.
The opening session will be co-chaired by Hon. Thokozani Khupe GlobalPOWER Women Network Africa President and Dr.Bience Philomina Gawanas, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union.
Key remarks will be given by President Robert G. Mugabe, Zimbabwe, Joyce Mujuru, Vice President of Zimbabwe, Morgan R. Tsvangirai, Prime Minister, Zimbabwe, Prof. Arthur Mutambara Deputy Prime Minister Zimbabwe, Dr. Jing Ping, Chair of the African Union and Michel Sidibé, Executive Director UNAIDS.
Also a panel discussion on financing and accountability will focus on the issue of investing in women’s health particularly the African investment case for health financing.
Participation will include a representative of the African Development Bank, H. E Salgado, former Vice President of Spain and Hon. Tendai Biti, Minister of Finance in Zimbabwe among other prominent government officials.