Partnership with Malaysian AIDS Foundation drives critical enablers towards ending AIDS

Professor Dato’ Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman (Chairman of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation) receives a contribution for RM1.25 million on behalf of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation from Ramil Burden (Vice President, General Manager of GSK Pharmaceutical Sdn Bhd) to advance three of its high-impact AIDS programmes over the next three years, during the Official Launch of Malaysian AIDS Foundation & GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical Partnership.

KUALA LUMPUR, 19 June 2017 – GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical Sdn Bhd (GSK Malaysia) has earmarked RM1.25 million for the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) to advance three of its high-impact AIDS programmes over the next three years.

The first is the Malaysian AIDS Foundation Paediatric AIDS Fund, which provides monthly allowances of RM100 to 100 underprivileged children living with HIV or born into HIV-impacted families with a combined household income of less than RM2,000. Initiated in 2008 with the aim of alleviating the socioeconomic burden of living with HIV, this scheme was discontinued in 2015 due to financial constraints. These allowances help affected families to purchase necessities like food, household items and HIV care. The funds will be disbursed via a cashless distribution system provided by MyKasih Foundation, community partner of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation Paediatric AIDS Fund.

The Malaysian Business Consortium on HIV and AIDS, the second programme under the partnership, serves as a platform for businesses to share and exchange HIV and AIDS information and best practices. It also acts as a repository for the pooling of HIV and AIDS resources. It offers guidance to Malaysian businesses on HIV and AIDS workplace policy development and seeks to eliminate attitudes/practices that stigmatise and discriminate against workers living with HIV. These guidelines are enshrined in the “Code of Practice on Prevention and Management of HIV and AIDS at the Workplace” developed by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health Malaysia.

The third, HIV Awareness and Education for Healthcare Professionals, is new and focuses on removing barriers to equitable HIV services in healthcare settings. It aims to enhance the knowledge, expertise and skills of primary care physicians in the clinical management of HIV and AIDS through workshops, online learning courses, and on-demand consultation.

“Through our long history in the infectious disease sphere, we recognise not only the importance, but also the impact of community mobilisation on the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS,” remarked Ramil Burden, Vice President, General Manager of GSK Pharmaceutical Sdn Bhd.

“Aligned with our strong commitment to improving health outcomes for all, what we hope to achieve with the MAF partnership is a unified, empowered, and inspired Malaysian community across all sectors and divides – healthcare, business and people living with HIV themselves – striving towards the common goal of ending AIDS by 2030.”

Professor Dato’ Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Chairman of the MAF said, “Despite the many remarkable successes of the national AIDS response, most notably the 40 per cent reduction in new HIV infections over the past decade, people living with HIV continue to face barriers in their day-to-day lives due to stigma and discrimination, causing many to live in constant fear and suffer in silence.”

“In our ongoing effort to create an enabling environment for people living with HIV to thrive and succeed, we will further concentrate on working with the healthcare and business sectors, two priority areas that have a significant impact on HIV-related health and social outcomes.”

Noting the challenge of financial sustainability in the AIDS response, she commented, “We are deeply grateful to GSK Malaysia for this meaningful partnership, particularly for giving a new lease of life to the Paediatric AIDS Fund, a signature programme under our treatment, care and support banner that in the past has served hundreds of children in some of the country’s most hard-to-reach settings.”

News of the partnership was announced at a breaking of fast ceremony to celebrate the beneficiaries of the Paediatric AIDS Fund and their families here today.

From the first reported cases in 1986 to 2016, a total of 111, 916 HIV infections have been recorded in Malaysia, 1,131 of whom were children under 13 years. The national HIV notification rate currently stands at 11.00 per 100,000 people.[1]

[1] HIV/STI Sector, Division of Disease Control, Ministry of Health Malaysia (2016).