Malawi’s First Lady, Her Excellency Dr Gertrude Mutharika, has today arrived in Nairobi ahead of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) that runs from March next week.
Dr Mutharika, who is the President of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), will be the chief guest at the AHAIC’s Youth Pre-Conference, which will be held at the Radisson Blu in Nairobi. She will be accompanied by her host Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
The two-day youth pre-conference, which runs on March 5-6, will set the stage for the main conference, which runs from March 7-9.
The Malawian First Lady will deliver a keynote address at the Youth Pre-Conference event, which is attended by 130 young delegates from across the African continent.
She is also expected to lend her voice to the youth’s push for greater inclusion in the decision-making process on health policies across Africa. Her visit is aligned to the African Union’s “Year of the Youth” agenda.
Speaking at the Radisson Blu, Dr Githinji Gitahi, Amref Health Africa Group CEO and Chair of the Organising Committee, said that the attendance of the two first ladies underscores the continental appeal of the conference and the growing realization of the important role youth play in development.
“This is the clearest indication yet that Africa is keen on pushing its own health agenda, independent of the global health agenda. We need an African health agenda that not only focuses on the unique challenges affecting Africa, but that also includes the youth in a meaningful way. This is because about 65 per cent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35 years,” said Dr Gitahi.
AHAIC has been organised by Amref Health Africa in partnership with GSK, Nairobi City County and the Kenyan Ministry of Health. The conference is expected to draw the attendance of more than 450 delegates from Africa and across the world, and will include representatives from the World Health Organisation and other UN agencies, research and academic institutions, governments and development organisations who will discuss achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals related to health in Africa.