Malaysian AIDS Council – Malaysian AIDS Foundation jointly organised World AIDS Day 2015 unites multi-sectoral stakeholders ushering in an ambitious 15-year campaign to effectively end the AIDS epidemic.
Ministry officials, corporate citizens, civil society advocates and activists, as well as community leaders and celebrities joined the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) and Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) in launching the Ending AIDS by 2030 campaign to commemorate World AIDS Day 2015.
Guided by the vision and goals enshrined in the National Strategic Plan on Ending AIDS 2016-2030 released just recently by the Ministry of Health Malaysia, Ending AIDS by 2030 envisages a 90 per cent reduction in new HIV infections within the next 15 years.
“The national AIDS response has shown remarkable progress in the past decade following the vast expansion of the harm reduction strategy that has halved new HIV infections among people who inject drugs,” said Datuk Dr. Raj Karim, President of MAC and a Trustee of MAF.
“Strong smart partnerships with key stakeholders across all sectors – government, corporate, civil society – have been the cornerstone of the national AIDS response and will continue to be in the Ending AIDS by 2030 phase. We particularly wish to acknowledge the leadership, commitment and support of the Ministry of Health Malaysia that have enabled us to serve over 100,000 people in key populations affected by HIV – often marginalised due to HIV stigma – in the past five years alone with lifesaving community-based HIV prevention, treatment, health literacy and referral services,” she elaborated.
The corporate sector has also demonstrated its unwavering support to MAC and MAF towards improving community health outcomes.
Leading the corporate sector response is Yayasan Sime Darby, the main philanthropic arm of Sime Darby Berhad, whose contribution to MAC and MAF has amounted to over RM 2.5 million in the past two years for a number of projects, most notably the HIV advocacy and leadership programme (Yayasan Sime Darby holds the distinction of being the first corporate entity to fund MAC operational expenses) and PAL Scheme, a medicine assistance scheme that provides access to second line antiretroviral treatment to underprivileged Malaysians living with HIV.
Reflecting on its leadership in the AIDS response, Datin Paduka Zaitoon Dato’ Othman, Governing Council Member of Yayasan Sime Darby noted, “Yayasan Sime Darby hopes to make an impact on the wellbeing of people living with HIV in Malaysia by strengthening MAC’s advocacy efforts which promotes national policy changes to protect their rights, as well as to improve and enable a more positive environment towards HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.”
“Together with MAC and MAF, we will continue to reach out to those who face barriers to access healthcare services due to socio-economic disparities, geographical factors, as well as stigma and discrimination. We hope to empower people living with HIV and their caregivers, to live their lives to the fullest with dignity and pride,” she added.
Heeding this call to corporate leadership, a number of corporations and businesses have stepped up and pledged their support to kick-start the Ending AIDS by 2030 campaign.
Donations totaling RM 145,000 were presented to MAC and MAF at the event, by Miss Universe Malaysia Organization (RM100,000), Asiaworks Foundation (RM25,000), ONE® CONDOM (RM15,000) and A&P Berkat Travel and Tours (RM 5,000).
Datuk Dr. Raj Karim, President of the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) and Trustee of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) (second row, seventh from right) joins Dr. Anita Suleiman, Senior Principal Assistant Director (HIV/STI), Ministry of Health Malaysia (second row, centre), Datin Paduka Zaitoon Dato’ Othman, Governing Council Member of Yayasan Sime Darby (second row, tenth from left), donors, partners and the Red Ribbon Celebrity Supporters of MAC and MAF to launch the Ending AIDS by 2030 campaign in conjunction with World AIDS Day on 20 December 2015 at Encorp Strand Mall, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya. — Photo © 2015 MAC / MAF
The importance of corporate leadership was further punctuated by the introduction of MAF’s first ever Red Ribbon Business Icon, Datuk (Dr.) Kelvin Tan Aik Pen, Chairman of TSH Resources Berhad who will take on the role of advocate for responsible business policies and practices that respect and protect the rights of people living with HIV in the work place.
The new lineup of the Red Ribbon Celebrity Supporters – allies of MAC and MAF in the entertainment and media industries – for the 2015/2016 cycle was also unveiled.
Erra Fazira, Kaka Azraff, Nourul Wahab Depp and Patricia K were announced as the latest additions to the Red Ribbon Celebrity Supporter movement, joining Aaron Aziz, Aanantha, Bob Yusof, Dayang Nurfaizah, Dee, Fahrin Ahmad, Hafiz Hamidun, Joey G, Najwa Latif, Owen Yap, Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, Shah Shamshiri, Datin Seri Umie Aida, Uthaya and Winnie K in challenging HIV stigma and bringing HIV awareness to a broader audience.
The new line up of the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) and Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) Red Ribbon Celebrity Supporter movement for the 2015/2016 cycle is unveiled at the launch of the Ending AIDS by 2030 campaign in conjunction with World AIDS Day on 20 December 2015 at Encorp Strand Mall, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya. From left: Aanatha, Winnie K, Bob Yusof, Kaka Azraff (new), Patricia K (new), Joey G and Fahrin Ahmad. — Photo © MAC / MAF
World AIDS Day, observed globally on 1 December every year since 1988, is an opportunity for individuals, communities and organisations worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and show their support for people living with HIV.
“The AIDS response is a shared responsibility and we are heartened to see the strong turnout of our partners and supporters at today’s World AIDS Day event. We look to strengthen these partnerships as we embark on the journey to Ending AIDS by 2030 that is undoubtedly paved with a myriad of obstacles and challenges,” Dr. Raj remarked further.
The World AIDS Day 2015 event was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Malaysia and Yayasan Sime Darby as well as venue sponsor Encorp Mall Strand, and supported by ONE® CONDOM and Miss Universe Malaysia Organization.
A special charity bazaar presented by Vendeur Festival proved a hit with the crowd who thronged to enjoy the bargain on offer from 60 over vendors. In its second charitable collaboration this year, Vendeur Festival will be donating a portion of the proceeds raised from the bazaar to MAF.
HIV awareness exhibitions, anonymous HIV testing and counseling, and a host of interactive games and activities conducted by Partner Organisations of MAC rounded out the daylong festivities.
Malaysian AIDS Council
The Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) was established in 1992 to serve as an umbrella organisation to support and coordinate the efforts of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on HIV & AIDS issues in Malaysia. MAC works in close partnership with government agencies, the private sector and international organisations, to ensure a committed and effective NGO-led response to the HIV epidemic. In addition to providing nationwide coverage of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services, MAC and its Partner Organisations serve as the common voice for communities most affected by HIV & AIDS in the country. Visit www.mac.org.my to learn more.
Malaysian AIDS Foundation
The Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) was formed in 1992 to raise and administer funds to support the activities and programmes of Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) and its Partner Organisations. MAF funds prevention, treatment and care programmes conducted by MAC. MAF also distributes corporate donors’ funds to support projects that have been unable to secure government funding or projects located in parts of the country where resources are scarce. Learn more at http://yam.org.my/V2/.