President Mamnoon Hussain has called for a renewed pledge by the government, health practitioners NGOs and the people to play their effective role in prevention of HIV infections and urged all stakeholders to work in unison in fighting this disease and helping make Pakistan HIV and AIDS free.

In a message on the World AIDS Day, the President called for ensuring access to safe, effective and affordable quality medicines, diagnostics and related health commodities as well as healthcare services for all people in need.

The President said the World AIDS Day was being observed with a pledge to increase awareness about AIDS and to discuss how to take preventive measures while setting aside prejudices. He said each year fatal disease claims lives of a large number of people globally and Pakistan also faces this challenge.

President Mamnoon Hussain said effective combating of HIV and AIDS requires that everyone should have equal access to information about preventive measures and the available treatment programmes. He also called for concerted efforts involving parents, teachers, religious scholars, media and every segment of the society to work together and thereby save millions from the consequences of this disease.

The President said unfortunately the healthcare systems in most of the developing countries falls short of providing even the most basic health services. He said since HIV was an issue of global concern it was important that the international community focuses on AIDS prevention and cure in developing countries to make the whole world HIV and AIDS free.

He said the theme of World AIDS Day this year; “Right to Health” was aimed at ensuring access to treatment for all without discrimination. He said following the 18th Constitutional Amendment, health has been devolved to provinces and expressed confidence that the federal and provincial governments were cognizant of their responsibilities to accord high priority to health and cure of this disease.

He was appreciative that the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination was making concerted efforts to address various risk factors associated with HIV/AIDS. He pointed that one of the factors inhibiting fight against AIDS was the stigma surrounding HIV resulting in discrimination against the patients.

“On this Day, let us pledge to work towards zero discrimination against patients suffering from HIV,” the President said.