Yayasan Sime Darby continues support for the Malaysian AIDS Foundation PAL Scheme, committing RM1.2 million until 2020
KUALA LUMPUR, 18 December 2017 – The Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) Positive Audacious Living (PAL) Scheme will continue to save the lives of underprivileged people living with HIV (PLHIV) with extended support from Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD).
YSD has committed RM1.2 million towards the scheme for three years until 2020. The extension marks six years of collaboration between YSD and MAF since 2014, with a total commitment of RM2.7 million.
The scheme enables Malaysians living with HIV to obtain second line antiretroviral (ARV) treatment at major government hospitals for free. The extension will enable the continuation of these lifesaving medications for 75 patients.
In her speech at the event to announce the extension of support, YSD Governing Council Member Datin Paduka Zaitoon Dato’ Othman said the scheme serves PLHIV who bear the brunt of economic disparity, not to mention stigma and discrimination.
“YSD aims to complement the Health Ministry’s objective, in line with the United Nations’ global AIDS response goal to end AIDS by 2030, to achieve a 95 per cent HIV treatment access rate by 2030. Currently, less than 40 per cent of Malaysians living with HIV are receiving treatment.
“Throughout the MAF PAL Scheme programme duration, we have seen marked improvements in the quality of health of the beneficiaries, measured by an improved CD4 count and suppressed viral load, as a result of receiving second line ARV treatment and HIV care.
“Beneficiaries are able to keep regular jobs, sustain their livelihoods and support their families and dependents. Another benefit of viral suppression is the significant reduction in risk of HIV transmission to an uninfected partner by 96%, allowing zero-discordant couples to conceive HIV negative babies.
“It is with these sustainable outcomes in mind that I am delighted to announce the Foundation’s decision to extend support to the MAF PAL Scheme for the next three years until August 2020,” she added.
MAF Chairman Professor Dato’ Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman said recent advances in ARV treatment have dramatically changed the face of the epidemic.
“Not only does treatment save the lives of people living with HIV and allow them to essentially lead a normal life, it also significantly reduces the risk of transmission of HIV to their sexual partners and in the case of pregnant women to their unborn babies.
“Despite the challenges in sustaining the PAL Scheme, we remain committed to breaking down barriers to treatment access and ensuring that more people benefit from treatment, especially now in the face of mounting evidence that treatment is prevention.
“We are extremely proud of our long-term partnership with YSD and are deeply grateful to them for their continued support for the PAL Scheme and all our other efforts towards ending AIDS by 2030. Together, we hope to effect change in the lives of the people we serve not only in terms of their health outcomes but also their quality of life free from the negative impact of stigma and discrimination.”
The MAF PAL Scheme is part of a two-pronged approach by YSD and the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) towards tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Malaysia.
The Foundation is also supporting MAC’s programme to strengthen advocacy on HIV/AIDS by raising awareness about issues affecting communities impacted by HIV/AIDS.
In total, YSD has committed RM5.7 million to both MAC and MAF for various HIV/AIDS-related initiatives.
This includes MAC’s work with the Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) to conduct training workshops for clerics, religious leaders, state religious departments and councils with the aim of preventing the spread of HIV, increasing treatment and care as well as harm reduction among the affected populations.
For its outstanding support to MAF and MAC, YSD was awarded the ASEAN Red Ribbon for Outstanding Workplace (ARROW) Award from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Business Coalition on AIDS in September 2016.
Under the Community & Health pillar, YSD to date has committed RM138.6 million towards community-based programmes, initiatives, advocacy and research efforts targeted at increasing the well-being of disadvantaged people, reducing socio-economic disparities as well as enhancing the welfare of neglected children, senior citizens, vulnerable women, physically challenged individuals and other marginalised groups.
Yayasan Sime Darby, or Sime Darby Foundation, was established in 1982 and is the primary driver of Sime Darby’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
The objectives of Yayasan Sime Darby are supported by its five pillars, namely: education; environment; community & health; youth & sports; arts & culture. While led by independent members of a Governing Council and managed by a dedicated team, Yayasan Sime Darby works closely with the Sime Darby, in areas of mutual interest.
Since its inception, Yayasan Sime Darby has awarded scholarships worth RM261.5 million to 3,614 students both in and outside Malaysia. It is supporting long term research projects of significant scientific value like the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project which is the world’s largest ecological project, and the Reforestation and Rehabilitation of Orangutan Habitats in Northern Ulu Segama.
Yayasan Sime Darby is also actively involved in the development and improvement of sports in Malaysia namely track cycling, sailing and golf. Under its community & health pillar, Yayasan Sime Darby supports initiatives to promote the well-being of disadvantaged people irrespective of race, culture, religion, creed or gender and works with established organisations to promote the development of arts & culture.
The Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) was formed in 1993 to raise and administer funds to support the activities and programmes of the Malaysian AIDS Council and its Partner Organisations. MAF funds high-impact HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes such as harm reduction, s helter homes, financial and medical assistance schemes as well as HIV health literacy and empowerment activities for underprivileged women and children living with HIV and other key populations nationwide. Learn more at http://yam.org.my/V2/.