By Petronella Sibeene
A two-day conference on Namibian women leaders against HIV/AIDS started in the capital yesterday with First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba urging all women in leadership positions to be pro-active in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“You represent a cross-section of Namibian women leaders, if we agree on key issues, we will be able to take them to various levels of society and government,” she said.
Members of Parliament, United Nations agencies, prominent businesswomen, community leaders and civil society leaders were among participants at the conference.
The conference intends to mobilise women in leadership and discuss HIV/AIDS and set out tangible actions in contribution to the national response.
A declaration of their commitment is expected at the closure of the conference this afternoon.
Describing HIV/AIDS as a crisis in Namibia, Pohamba said women leaders should review their plans and actions in the national response to the pandemic.
This conference comes in the footsteps of a male conference on HIV/AIDS that discussed issues pertaining to sexual decisions, health communication, knowing one’s status, and orphans among others.
The First Lady says women’s approach to such issues is different from their male counterparts, as such she urged women leaders at the conference to come up with workable strategies to address HIV/AIDS issues.
The First Lady further said women should spearhead the campaign in fighting HIV/AIDS because of the increased feminisation of the disease.
She stressed that women are more vulnerable to HIV infection than men.
Unfortunately, even when they are not infected, they are heavily affected as they take up the role of caring for the sick and orphans and vulnerable children.
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