PR No. 08
SAPM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza Calls for Concerted Efforts by All to Address the Challenge
Islamabad: December 02, 2019

Today Pakistan joins the rest of the world in observing World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day is both a reminder and an opportunity to harness the power of social change to impart awareness about HIV/AIDS said Dr. Zafar Mirza SAPM on Health while addressing participantsof a walk organized to mark World AIDS Day. The theme of this year’s AIDS day is “Communities make the difference”, which essentially means that it is through communities that the menace of HIV/AIDS can be eradicated. Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination is performing the lead role in mobilizing financial and technical resources and advocating for the cause of prevention and control of this fatal disease. Our work is more urgent than ever said Dr. Zafar Mirza. I believe it is imperative to rethink our essential public health programs. We need to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of national and provincial programs, he said. It is imperative that we reassess the response that has to be generated to fight the epidemic said Dr. Zafar Mirza. We need to have a collaborative and collective approach to develop uniform interventions to address HIV/AIDS he added. We need to probe coherent and more resourceful ways to understand the underlying reasons of the spread of the disease. As a public health person, I believe treatment is the last resort whereas prevention is essential: “what can be preventable must be prevented”. I also believe that it is through communities that we can mobilize and explore means of preventing the disease. To address the underlying factors, we must rethink our efforts in generating response to combat the disease. Blood borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C require effective management of blood transfusion and injection safety procedures. Moreover, we need to have regular financing to sustain the existing interventions. Ministry of National Health Services has formed a task force on injection safety usage. The Government of Pakistan is committed to scale up the existing community-based HIV prevention model. The HIV/AIDS surveillance system will be strengthened and shall link prevention and treatment services. Domestic resources will be mobilized for prevention programme by initiating a financing dialogue with relevant line ministries especially in high prevalence provinces. Similarly, to address stigma and discrimination, efforts will be ensued for effective implementation of legislation. And that is why as Minister, I'm going to keep making sure that the Government of Pakistan takes unprecedented measures to prevent HIV spread in our country. The Government of Pakistan is committed to respond to the needs and demands of key population through their participation in preventive approach and adopting a high impact methods such as prevention at grass root levels to end AIDS by 2030. I am proud to be a part of this noble cause and take this opportunity to stress upon my fellow compatriots to join hands in defeating the disease. I believe it is the duty of each citizen of this country to ensure that Pakistan becomes HIV /AIDS free.