National Anti-Drug Agency (NADA) under the Ministry of Home Affairs is the lead agency responsible for the formulation of policies relating to drugs, especially with the drug abuse preventive education and treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependents. It was set up in 1996 to monitor and control the drug situation in Malaysia.
The objective of the National Anti-Drug Agency is to ensure the implementation of national policies on drugs and coordinate, monitor and evaluate all activities relating to the control and prevention of the drug problem to create a drug free nation by 2015.
Despite all that, NADA is aware and support the effort from MAC through the Harm Reduction program in their new direction and transformation. Harm Reduction program already injected in The Cure & Care 1Malaysia Clinic by practicing the Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) and etc. in their Narcotic Addiction Treatment Centre for example; Triage Centre, PUSPEN for severe drug dependents, One PUSPEN through the Treatment & Rehabilitation in The Community.
The Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) and MAC already started a cooperative networking with Police as a stakeholder begins in the year of 2010 with a Law Enforcement Seminar at Kuala Lumpur International Hotel. It followed by the series of workshop and seminar for Harm Reduction Sensitization program held across from the northern to southern region of Malaysia.
Throughout this cooperative working, police have given the full support towards any Harm Reduction program including the Needle Syringe Exchange Program (NSEP), Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT), etc, though it has some stigma and discrimination happened at the early stage of cooperation.
MAC, Ministry of Health (MOH) and RMP succeed in generating the standard operating procedure for the police in handling the NSEP, which is compulsory to observe by all police. The police also involve in working visit to Portugal, Germany & Switzerland as to learn harm reduction method practiced in those countries that can benefit and implemented in Malaysia.
Partnership with JAKIM
Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) took the pragmatic approach of building strategic partnerships with national and state level religious departments, recognising the low level of engagement of Islamic religious authorities in the community-based responses to HIV and AIDS. HIV & Islam programme in 2009 was born through this initiative, which broke new grounds in amplifying the visibility of Islamic authorities leading the efforts to address the needs of Muslim PLHIV and other MARPs.
Partnership with principal collaborator, the religious policy-making Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) in particular has successfully opened doors of opportunities for, inter alia, more meaningful engagement with religious leaders and other key players in open intellectual discourses to advocate for evidence-informed public health approaches to effectively respond to the HIV and AIDS epidemic. As a result, principles previously founded on staunch conservatism have now been replaced with pragmatism.
HIV & ISLAM MANUAL
HIV & ISLAM manual was officially launched in August 2010. JAKIM and the Ministry of Health (MOH) jointly undertook the initiative, with MAC assuming advisory role over the content of the manual. The goal of the development of the HIV & Islam manual was to institutionalise HIV and AIDS education into the formal training of new Muslim leaders. Following the launch of the manual, JAKIM has since been proactively conducting HIV & Islam education training workshops to sensitise state religious council officials and other religious and community leaders nationwide.
International AIDS Memorial Day Celebrations
Partnership with JAKIM results in the first ever event held in mosque complete with mainstream media coverage in 2009. The celebration acts as a landmark of the beginning of strategic partnerships between religious authorities and grassroots HIV movements, in particular that of JAKIM and MAC. The event, marked with mass Islamic prayers and Qur’an recitals to remember lives lost to the epidemic and a panel discussion on HIV for a popular religious television talk show (Forum Perdana), united some 1,000 guests comprising religious leaders of various faiths, key government stakeholders, health officials, families and members of the communities affected by HIV and AIDS as well as the general public.
Shelter Homes for Muslim PLHIV
The shelter care facility for Muslim PLHIV, which is already in the pipeline, will be jointly built and operated through a tripartite collaboration with MAC, JAKIM and the Federal Territory Islamic Council (MAIWP). The RM 15 million (USD 3 million) facility, is designed to be a hub where high-quality treatment options will be made available to clients. This includes nursing and palliative care, counselling, job placement, family reunification and hospital follow-up services.
Mukhayyam Programme : Employment Training Programmes for Most at-Risk Populations
In an unprecedented move to improve the livelihoods of Muslim TGs lacking social support to gain employment and to ultimately reduce the vulnerability to risks associated with HIV infection in this population, Dagang Halal and GiatMara, a food products and services enterprise, through a joint collaborative effort with JAKIM and MAC just recently in March 2011 piloted an employment training programme for TGs.
The programme, which additionally purported to promote greater societal acceptance of TGs in the highly conservative Muslim community, was lauded for the adoption of the non-judgmental “embracing gender diversity with no restrictions or impositions” principle. The pilot was much appreciated by the TG participants themselves who, through this programme, received HIV and AIDS education and religious and spiritual lessons in addition to professional skills development training. At the end of the programme, participants were given the opportunity to apply for positions that suited their skills and qualifications.
Outreach to MARPS
JAKIM and other state religious councils and authorities periodically work in partnership with the various CBOs under the MAC umbrella to provide basic HIV education to MARPs such as sex workers, TGs and IDUs, and to address their spiritual needs through outreach activities.
A mosque located in one of the country’s most prominent universities in Kuala Lumpur is currently being used by a research institution as service delivery point to administer methadone to IDUs for a study on treatment of drug dependence. Based on the findings from this study, JAKIM will develop a protocol to standardise operational procedures and package of services.
Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) = Ministry of Health Malaysia
The national response to HIV started as far back in 1985 with inclusion of HIV, AIDS and death related to HIV/AIDS into the list of notifiable diseases under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act. To streamline National response, AIDS/STD Sector was then created within the Public Health Division in Ministry of Health Malaysia in 1993. In 1992, Malaysia AIDS Council (MAC) was formed under the auspices of the Ministry of Health, mainly to compliment the national responses to HIV.
During the earlier days, the design and development of the HIV/AIDS National Prevention and Control Program was sole responsibility of the Ministry of Health. Over period of time, this response has matured to include wider group of stakeholders including non-health sectors within government agencies, NGO, civil society, private agencies, bilateral and international agencies.
However, there are still opportunities to strengthen and sustain the commitment of all stakeholders especially in enhancing to achieve greater harmonisation, coordination and alignment; maintain and sustain optimum levels of funding; achieve greater programme coverage, effectiveness, and efficiency; and to continue the provision of affordable treatment to those who need it.
(a) Strengthening the national commitment and supporting the NSP
Raising awareness and knowledge on HIV/AIDS has been a focus of the MOH since the formulation of Plan of Action in 1988. In collaboration with the Department of Religious Affairs, MAC, and UNDP, the MOH has been seeking the involvement of religious leaders, and their participation in joint efforts to educate and to initiate or support community programmes related to HIV/AIDS. Other targeted interventions are carried out by relevant NGOs and international organisations.
The first National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV/AIDS was developed in 2000. Under this strategic framework, the Cabinet Committee on HIV/AIDS (CCA) was established and chaired by Deputy Prime Minister. In December 2008 the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) was roped in as member to allow for the voice of civil society and the different communities represented by MAC to be effectively heard by members of the Cabinet. In 2009, the entire policy and decision-making structure was revised and the CCA was restructured and known as the National Coordinating Committee on AIDS Intervention (NCCAI) chaired by the Minister of Health. Civil society is also represented on this committee. With latest revision, NSP 2011-2015 continues to provide a common ground and emphasis on an integrated and comprehensive approach addressing the needs of prevention, treatment, care and support. Another highest coordinating body where civil society is represented is the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), chaired by the Deputy Minister of Health. It provides governance for all programmes and activities related to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) in Malaysia.
The responsibility for the overall coordination, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of Malaysia’s HIV and AIDS responses is currently tasked to the HIV/STI Sector of the Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health. Currently, the HIV/STI Sector function as the National AIDS Programme (NAP) Secretariat supported by the AIDS Officers at every state. Similar mechanism is being implemented at every state and districts. The Secretariat interacts and engages the other institutions within the Federal Government (and the civil society) through HIV Focal Points who are present in each of the relevant Ministries.
(b) Mobilisation and involvement of MARPs and civil society
Involvement of key civil society stakeholders in national level policy and programme development continues to be dependent on issues of capacity and relevance. Civil society is being represented at the NCCAI and the CCM. In the former, civil society is represented by MAC while in the later several representatives (e.g. sex workers, PLHIV and transgender) have been elected onto the CCM by their respective communities. MAC which function as an umbrella organisation to support and coordinate the efforts of partner organizations (PO) working on HIV and AIDS issues, facilitates the collaboration with civil society organisations (CSO) in the implementation of the National Strategy on HIV and AIDS.
Source: Country progress report : Malaysia 2012