As the world progresses through time, certain issues demand our attention and collective action. One such paramount concern is the global battle against HIV/AIDS. Each year on December 1st, the world unites to observe World AIDS Day – a day that transcends borders, cultures, and backgrounds. Its significance is not only rooted in remembrance but also in advocacy, education, and a collective commitment to eradicating the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. Here, we delve into the profound importance of World AIDS Day and why its observance is crucial for individuals and communities worldwide.
Raising Awareness to Break the Stigma:
One of the primary objectives of World AIDS Day is to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, dispelling myths and misconceptions that surround the virus. Informed communities are empowered communities. Through education and understanding, we can dismantle the stigma that often accompanies a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS. By fostering a culture of empathy and knowledge, we pave the way for a more inclusive and compassionate society.
Remembering Those We’ve Lost:
World AIDS Day is also a solemn occasion to remember and honor those who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses. It provides an opportunity for reflection on the profound impact that the epidemic has had on individuals, families, and communities across the globe. By acknowledging the human toll of HIV/AIDS, we renew our commitment to preventing further loss and ensuring that those affected receive the support and care they deserve.
Supporting Those Affected:
Beyond remembrance, World AIDS Day serves as a call to action to support those currently living with HIV/AIDS. It highlights the importance of accessible healthcare, treatment, and emotional support. This day encourages communities to come together in solidarity, fostering an environment where individuals affected by HIV/AIDS can feel understood, accepted, and embraced without judgment.
Advocating for Prevention:
Prevention is a powerful tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day emphasizes the need for proactive measures, including education on safe practices, regular testing, and the promotion of protective measures. By advocating for prevention, we work towards reducing new infections and creating a healthier, more informed future.
Global Unity in the Face of a Global Challenge:
Perhaps most importantly, World AIDS Day is a testament to the power of global unity. HIV/AIDS knows no borders, and its impact is felt worldwide. This day serves as a reminder that our collective efforts, regardless of geographical location or cultural differences, are essential in addressing this global challenge. By standing together, we strengthen our resolve to create a world free from the burden of HIV/AIDS.
As the calendar turns towards December, we find ourselves on the brink of World AIDS Day 2023, gearing up for a celebration that goes beyond the ordinary. This year, our commitment to raising awareness takes on a vibrant and spirited form with a unique blend of a Mena Bazar and a cricket championship involving all stakeholders.
Cricket Championship for a Cause
The spirit of competition takes the stage with a cricket championship that transcends the boundaries of sport.
Team Unity: Teams formed from various departments and groups within the organization symbolize the unity needed to combat the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS.
Awareness on the Field: Jerseys aren’t just about team pride – they become canvases for awareness symbols and messages. The cricket field transforms into a platform for spreading the message of HIV/AIDS prevention and destigmatization.
Celebrating Advocacy: Prizes go beyond the boundaries of the cricket pitch, recognizing teams and individuals for their active participation in advocacy. Best jerseys, team spirit, and advocacy efforts all earn their moment in the spotlight.
Half-Time Illumination: Beyond the excitement of the game, half-time becomes an opportunity for brief but impactful awareness discussions. Speakers will share crucial information, emphasizing the importance of collective action.
Mena Bazar Extravaganza
The heart of our initiative lies in the Mena Bazar, a bustling marketplace that promises an array of experiences for participants and visitors alike.
Stalls brimming with diversity will line the venue, each one contributing to the collective effort of spreading awareness and support.
Culinary Delights with a Cause:
Local vendors will join hands with us to create a delectable culinary experience. Proceeds from food stalls will contribute to the cause, turning every bite into a step forward in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
For those seeking a more hands-on experience, interactive stalls featuring activities, quizzes, and games related to HIV/AIDS awareness will be scattered throughout the bazar. Learning becomes a lively affair, merging education with entertainment.
At the core of our awareness campaign are stalls designed to impart valuable information about HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and support services. The aim is not only to educate but to debunk myths and foster understanding within our community.
Handmade crafts take center stage, not just as beautiful creations but as a means to channel creativity towards a crucial cause. These crafts will be more than objects of beauty; they will be symbols of our collective dedication to combating HIV/AIDS.
In conclusion, World AIDS Day is not just a date on the calendar; it is a symbol of hope, remembrance, and action. It is a day to stand in solidarity with those affected by HIV/AIDS, to advocate for a stigma-free society, and to work towards a future where the virus no longer poses a threat. As we observe World AIDS Day this year, let us recommit ourselves to the cause and strive for a world where compassion, understanding, and support prevail over judgment and discrimination.
It is with immense pleasure to inform that Dr. Razia Kaniz Fatima has taken the charge of National Coordinator, Strengthening Common Management Unit (CMU) for TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria under Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination (MoNHSR&C), Government of Pakistan.
Dr. Razia having diverse experience in the field of public health including 20 years’ experience at national level and worked on important positions since March, 2008 including Chief Research & Surveillance, Advisor TB. She is a Medical Doctor and obtained her PhD in Public Health from the University of Bergen Norway in (2015), MSc Epidemiology from LSHTM UK (2008) and Master’s in Public Health (2009).
She represented Pakistan at various international forums, and elected as Chair of the TB Section for International Union against TB and Lung Disease and Ethics Advisory group member. She has published 65 research papers on public health in international peer reviewed journals.
She led the GF TB Grant Cycle 7 process with a challenge to submit in window-1 and successfully secured 185 million US dollars for TB grant through team work.
The team of Common Management Unit extends its heartiest congratulations to Dr Razia Fatima and wishes her best of luck for her tenure.
Dr. Qasim Abbas, Deputy National Coordinator (DNC) for HIV/AIDS, Dr. Saima Paracha, Advisor for HIV/AIDS , Dr. Hammad Habib, Malaria Advisor, from Common Management Unit, Ministry of Health Pakistan and Dr. Rajwal Khan, Strategic Information Advisor from UNAIDS Pakistan, paid a visit to Dr. Ruth K. M. Pfau Civil Hospital, Karachi ART Center. The objective of the visit was to over see the working of staff, data authenticity, challenges and issues in service delivery system for HIV patients. During visit information was sought from the ART Incharge and DEO. The team of CMU was accompanied by Mr. Zubair Memon, M&E Officer, CDC HIV/AIDS Sindh, Dr Sassui Wadho, Provincial Coordinator, Sehat Sahulat Program and Dr. Ghous Malik, Operational Manager (Sindh), Nai Zindagi, Pakistan. Dr. Sameera Haider briefed aboutr the Centre functioning and issues of (MIS). The visiting team appreciated working of the dedicated ART staff.
The team also met with officials from the Malaria program.
National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination hosted the “ Friends of Pakistan Forum”, during the World Conference On Lung Health 2023, held in Paris. The forum was Chaired by Mr. Iftikhar Sahllwani, the Secretary MNHSR&C with the attendance from representatives of World Health Organization, Dr Muddasir Shehzad (Project Director TB Control Program Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Stop TB Partnership, USAID, Bill and MIllanda Gates Foundation, the Global Fund, Stop TB Pakistan, Dopasi Foundation and Bridge Consultants.
Dr. Abdul Wali Khan, the Manager National TB Program, in his presentation eluded on the progress in fight against TB and the way forward. Partners applauded the efforts of the ministry in keeping the momentum during and after COVID-19. Finding missing TB cases during COVID-19 was difficult task, however the accelerated recovery and catch up plan, prepared with the support of partners helped in meeting the targets.
Secretary thanked the participants and highlighted the key strategic interventions in place, which will help in finding the missing TB cases. He reiterated the commitment of Government of Pakistan made during the United Nation’s High Level TB Meeting on side line of the United Nation’s general Assembly, held in New York. He acknowledged the contribution of Civil Society, the local NGOs , technical and development partners in fight against TB. He also acknowledged the commitment of the provincial government, who have sustained the momentum by prioritising End TB as one of the top programs.
DHIS2 TB Tracker (case based) Roll out training in Azad Kashmir & distribution of laptops to the health facility staff. Director Health Services & Director CDC AJK were present at this occasion
Training of DHIS2 TB Tracker (case based) in KPK province & distribution of laptop to the representatives of TB facilities.
National Consultation Workshop was conducted in Islamabad on 4th November 2023.
Training on DHIS2 platform, organized by HISP& CMU for provincial / regional stakeholders from AIDS, TB & Malaria Control Programs at Islamabad. Dr. Abdul Wali Khan, DNC TB graced the occasion.
Two Day Training on Digital App & DHIS2 Case Based for MCG Project to register Afghan Refugees TB Patients & tablet. Dr. Abdul Wali Khan, Deputy National Coordinator TB graced the occasion.