Statements and Webcast
H.E. Dr. Hasan Abdul Rahman, Director General of Health
9 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
HASAN ABDUL RAHMAN, Director-General of Health of Malaysia, emphasized that stopping and reversing the epidemic required progress in all the world’s regions. While the burden of HIV/AIDS fell disproportionately on developing countries, the responsibility for combating it fell on all nations. The majority of those infected with HIV faced barriers in obtaining affordable life-prolonging drugs, he said, stressing that access should not be restricted by trade- and patent-related issues. Outlining his country’s current HIV incidence, he noted a consistent downwards trend in newly reported cases. In 2010, the figure had stood at 12.8 per 100,000, and the Government aimed to reduce it to 11 per 100,000 by 2015. Malaysia’s most recent National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS placed strong emphasis on strengthening the multisectoral collaboration undertaken under the previous plan, although an estimated $170 million in additional funding would be needed for its implementation, he said.
Highlighting the steps that had proven successful in his country, he said they included a harm-reduction initiative aimed at intravenous drug users, which included a syringe exchange programme and methadone substitution therapy; a national mother-to-child transmission prevention initiative; and expanded provision of, and access to, antiretroviral therapies, including for people living with HIV in prisons and drug rehabilitation centres. Malaysia was working to surmount challenges related to other, most at-risk populations, including men who have sex with men, sex workers and transgender persons, by partnering with non-governmental organizations. He emphasized that young people must be provided with correct and useful information on HIV and AIDS while at school, and even out of school, noting that the information must promote healthy lifestyles and good moral values.