By: The Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development at the African Union Commission

Representatives from RECs and the Member States;

Representatives of Development Partners;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • It is my pleasure to welcome you to this virtual panel discussion on ‎“The Power of Women-inclusive Policy Dialogues in Addressing Stigma and Discrimination Limiting Access to HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria Care in Africa”‎.
  • Thank you for joining the African Union Commission to commemorate International Women’s Day, which is an ample demonstration of our shared commitment to attaining the end of HIV, TB and malaria by 2030.
  • Gender inequalities are a strong driver of HIV, TB and malaria prevalence in Africa. Therefore the conversation ahead of us today is crucial in ensuring close attention is paid to ‎the power of including women in policy processes to address the inequalities limiting access to health care and other ‎services equitably.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • The African Union dedicates a great deal of interest and concern to ‎‎the power of women’s leadership in achieving sustainable and equitable socio-economic development in Africa. In line with this, the AU champions women’s empowerment to take up leadership roles in policy processes such as policy dialogues and policy formulation.
  • The AU Commission reinforces continental strategies and political commitments to ensure that women’s voices are amplified and their concerns are fully addressed. These continental frameworks include the AU Agenda 2063, the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Strategy, the Africa Health Strategy, the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) and the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB, and Malaria by 2030 – all which emphasise on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Therefore, the precedence for the AU Member States to take up high-impact strategies ‎for women empowerment is established and ‎advanced within a policy context. ‎
  • The Catalytic Framework calls explicitly for a rights-based approach to HIV, ‎Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria response ‎in Africa. ‎As we are on the subject of addressing stigma and discrimination limiting access to ‎HIV, TB and malaria care‎ in Africa, women have a crucial role in the achievement of a gender-transformative response to the three diseases which promotes ‎respect for human rights, including freedom from stigma and ‎‎discrimination and access ‎to basic human security needs such as healthcare services, nutrition and food security, ‎employment and education.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • The outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be a catalyst for urgency to re-think how we pool, allocate and spend resources for health systems strengthening and social safety nets.
  • We may not have control over the emergence of epidemic diseases and pandemics, but we have the choice to develop and support African-led solutions that enable the achievement of our continental goals.
  • In the wake of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) and realising the 2022 AU theme, which calls for strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security, there is added mandate to include these as priorities in our conversations about promoting good health and health systems financing in Africa.‎
  • As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2022 under the theme: “Break the Bias,” I reiterate that women have a unique role to play in the process of re-working the structural political, ‎economic and cultural conditions that limit communities from accessing the resources they need, when they need it.
  • Our voices and leadership will ensure that women and girls’ needs, experiences, and perspectives are considered when formulating policies and designing continental strategies.
  • As I conclude, I extend gratitude to the AIDS Watch Africa Secretariat for organising this panel ‎discussion to provide an avenue to exchange notes and explore the opportunity to align ‎leadership priorities for women in Africa.
  • I also wish to thank all the panellists and ‎participants for joining us.‎
  • The AU Commission hereby reinforces commitment to full and fruitful cooperation, and I wish you impactful engagement during this session.

I thank you

Listen to recording in French: