Malaysia launches UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS
By Indra Nadchatram
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 25 November 2005 – Children are increasingly bearing the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic with devastating consequences, UNICEF warned as it launched the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign in Malaysia.
Malaysia is the 24th country to launch the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign since it was kicked off at the United Nations in New York on 25 October this year.
Globally, a growing number of children and young people are themselves HIV-positive, or are affected by HIV/AIDS in other ways – including the loss of parents, teachers or other caregivers to the disease. UNICEF urgently calls for the most vulnerable and least protected generation to be put on the world’s radar screen.
“Every minute of every day, one child under the age of 15 is infected with HIV, and one child dies of AIDS,” said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Gaye Phillips at the launch event. “The face of HIV/AIDS is becoming younger. Not only are girls and boys dying, their lives are being damaged in so many ways.”
Research centre announced
The campaign aims to achieve measurable progress for children based on internationally agreed goals in four key areas, including prevention of infection among young people; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; paediatric AIDS treatment; and protection and support for children affected by HIV/AIDS.
To mark the campaign launch in Malaysia, UNICEF and the Institute of Health Management (Ministry of Health) announced the setting up of the IHM-UNICEF Collaborative Centre for Health Policy, Enhancement and Appraisal. The Collaborative Centre will conduct research in order to provide the Malaysian Government and UNICEF with reliable information and analyses and strengthen the decision-making process.
HIV/AIDS-related studies planned for 2006 include evaluations of the ‘Life-Skills Based Education’ and of PROSTAR (a Malay acronym for ‘Healthy Living without AIDS for Youth’) as well as a study on children orphaned by AIDS in Malaysia. All studies will include recommendations for appropriate action.
“This initiative builds on more than 50 years of partnership between the Government of Malaysia and UNICEF,” said Ms. Phillips. “We hope that the Centre will contribute by providing accurate and timely information to health-care decision-makers and analysts so they can offer services which are efficient and effective in improving the health and quality of life of Malaysians.”
The Malaysian launch was jointly held by the Ministry of Health of Malaysia and UNICEF. In attendance were Government and NGO representatives, foreign dignitaries, celebrities and children.
HIV, AIDS and Children