MOH: More funds, support for HIV/AIDS NGOs

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has pledged to provide increased funding and better support in the future to HIV/AIDS non-governmental organisations in its attempt to achieve zero-AIDS by 2030.

In claiming that smart, strategic government-NGO partnerships were vital to the national AIDS response, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye (pix) has vowed to allocate more for the cause from the government's annual budget.

"To this end, we will continue our commitment to providing leadership, guidance and resources to our NGO partners for high-impact evidence-based HIV/AIDS programming specific to key populations.

"We recognise the need for increased funding beyond the current RM7 million annual allocation for NGO-led interventions and improved investments to address sexual health," he said at the Red Ribbon Media Awards 2018 organised by the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) in conjunction with its 25th anniversary, here, today.

Dr Lee also attributed the many AIDS-related successes in the country – most notably the 50% reduction in new HIV infections over the past decade – to the government's strong partnership with the NGO sector and civil society.

The awards, which was previously a regular fixture of the then biannual MAF fundraiser Red Ribbon Gala, made its return after a six-year hiatus.

BFM89.9's Loo Juosie won the Outstanding Achievement in Broadcast Media award for her report Positive Lives.

Wan Nur Izzati Wan Mohd Nor Zaida from MyKampus TV meanwhile won the Outstanding Achievement in Web-Based Media award for her reports Malu Beli Kondom (Embarrassed to purchase a condom) and Telenovela: HIV Tak Kenal Siapa (HIV knows no one).

Each winner takes home a RM3,000 cash prize, trophy and certificate of excellence on top of a full scholarship to attend the 22nd International AIDS Conference in the Netherlands from July 23 to 27.

Special Red Ribbon Media Awards were also presented to Malay Mail weekend editor Audrey Edwards and Utusan Malaysia family and woman's desk assistant editor Rosmah Mohd Dain for their longstanding contribution to HIV/AIDS journalism.

Also recognised at the event were celebrities Bob Yusof, Dayang Nurfaizah, Fahrin Ahmad, Sham Shamshiri and Winnie K who were each honoured with the Red Ribbon Celebrity Supporters special award for longstanding service as champions of the HIV/AIDS cause.

Also present at the event were MAF chairman Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman and Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Meanwhile, Dr Lee commended the media for the role they have played in addressing AIDS, saying they were as potent, if not more than, the biomedical intervention of AIDS itself, in portraying the lived experiences, the reality and humanity in HIV-AIDS.