The UNAIDS Country Director for Ghana, Angela Trenton-Mbonde says Ghana has made giant strides towards the elimination of Mother-To-Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV by the end of 2020.
Speaking at the commemoration of the International Women’s Day by Alliance for African Women International (AFAWI), she said, UNAIDS is in collaboration with the Ghana AIDS Commission and the First Lady of Ghana to ensure Ghana meets its target by end of 2020.
The commemoration was under the theme: “Market queens – a success story of grassroots’ governance”.
Dr Mbonde in a presentation said, “Market queens can harbour support and solidarity for pregnant and healthy mothers living with HIV which will ensure that they overcome perceived stigma and other challenges and stay on anti-retroviral drugs to enable mothers deliver their babies, stay alive and healthy.”
According to her, market queens have the ability to influence women to know their HIV status. “Market queens can encourage pregnant women in markets and communities to know their status and to seek treatment if positive”.
She said Ghana is likely to join countries that have attained the elimination of Mother To Child Transmission at the end of 2020 if continuous effort is made.
Dr Mbonde whiles encouraging the market queens to collectively advocate for the Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT), she further admonished the general public to reach out to the National AIDS Control Program, the Ghana AIDS Commission and the UNAIDS with ideas and proposed actions for effective implementation.
She observed, that women are the most vulnerable in regards to HIV infection, therefore requires that women get tested and be advocators of PMTCT.
Managing Director of Alliance for African Women Initiative (AFAWI), in an interview indicated that, the commemoration of the 2020 International Women’s Day (IWD) is aimed at engaging market queens to listen to their success stories and challenges towards the achievement of gender equality.
“I think that market queens play a very important role in the development of our nation. These women are used as a means of collecting taxes even at the local level, therefore without them, it is difficult to collect taxes from women who are operating within the market setting and we believe that they have a lot of influence to be able to pass on certain information, wisdom and knowledge to their fellow women within the community and to help develop the women agenda, that is why we targeted them to get their success stories, challenges and to see how best we can work with them as an organization to influence the positive change we need in our communities.
He said, the attainment of socio-economic growth involves efforts of both genders in society through gender mainstreaming and that, the subordination of women must be avoided.
In his view, although gender equality is being championed across, Ghana needs to continuously engage communities in the advocacy of gender mainstreaming. Adding that, policy makers must consider the implementation of policies that address challenges of gender inequality to empower women in the development spheres.
The International Women’s Day (March 8,) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
The commemoration brought together society, representatives and leaders of various women groups, non-governmental organizations, queen mothers as well as market queens and other dignified women in Africa and the diaspora.