Representatives of about hundred (100) health-sector civil society organizations, community-based organizations, and key vulnerable population networks from twenty-four English-speaking African countries, have converged in Accra, for the 3RD annual Anglophone Africa Community, Rights and Gender Platform meeting.
Organised by the Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS Service Organizations (EANNASO) and co-hosted by Hope for Future Generations, and Non State Actors Ghana, the 5 -day conference is to promote dialogue aimed at enhancing the voice and capacity of civil society and communities to contribute to the effective functioning of their respective Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs).
Country Coordinating Mechanisms are national committees in each country that submit funding applications on behalf of the entire country to the Global Fund; an international financing organization committed to the prevention and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria.
The CCMs include representatives from governments, the private sector, technical partners, civil societies, faith-based organizations, and communities living with HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Ms. Olive Mumba, the Executive Director of EANNASO, organizers of the conference, said the forum is also to enhance a better understanding of the Global Fund processes and its architecture and to improve civil society and community engagement in the Global Fund’s 2018-2020 grant cycle.
She expressed that the forum is to enable delegates to take stock through sharing of experiences, tools, and methodologies and promote dialogue which would inform policies and improve the programming of HIV, TB, Malaria and other health issues present in Africa.
In his opening address, a member of the Ghana HIV Governing Board, Mr. Victor Ntumi, who represented the Minister for Health, Mr. Kwaku Agyemang Manu said: “it is important for CSOs to hold duty bearers accountable by complementing government efforts, and also being accountable to the constituencies they serve.”
He congratulated the organizers EANNASO and its local partners, Hope for Future Generations and Non-State of Actors Ghana; a group of Ghanaian Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations in the Health sector for the initiative.
Mr. Ntumi pledged support and commitment in building synergies in the African Region in the response to HIV, TB, and Malaria in the region. He was optimistic that the collaboration would yield the needed results expected.
Similarly, the UNAIDS Country Director for Ghana, Mrs. Angela Trenton-Mbonde in a brief comment welcomed the delegates, noting that she was hopeful the gathering would offer participants an opportunity to learn from each other.
The first day of the forum which included several dialogue sessions and panel discussions saw delegates share experiences, tools, and methodologies from their respective home countries.
Contributing to one of the discussions, Ms. Cecilia Lodonu-Senoo, the Executive Director for Hope for Future Generations and a member of Non-State of Actors Ghana, a group of Ghanaian Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations in the Health sector, bemoaned the low female representation in Civil Societies in Ghana. She is therefore encouraging more women to take up CSO roles in Ghana, and on the African continent as a whole.
The conference which commenced on Monday, 23rd April, 2018 will end on 27th April, 2018.