PETALING JAYA: Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) chairman Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman has been appointed a commissioner for the Global Commission on Drug Policy, becoming the first Malaysian to hold the distinction.
Created in 2011, the global commission was formed to advocate for drug policies based on scientific evidence, human rights, public health and security.
The commission is chaired by former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and includes a distinguished line-up of 26 former heads of state, eminent personalities and opinion leaders.
In a statement lauding the appointment, MAF described its chairman as a “passionate advocate for justice and health”, with previous experience on the global stage, having served as the International AIDS Society’s first Asian president.
“She was an instrumental influence on the Malaysian government’s drug policy shift, leading to harm reduction programmes being introduced in 2006, such as needle exchange programmes and methadone maintenance therapy.
“(After) 10 years of its implementation, harm reduction has halved new HIV infections among drug users, and continues to stem the tide of HIV in Malaysia to this day,” it said.
MAF said Adeeba, the former dean of Universiti Malaya’s medical faculty, has also served as principal investigator on numerous clinical research projects focused on addiction, HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis C in the Malaysian prisons system.
In welcoming Adeeba as its newest commissioner, the Global Commission on Drug Policy commended her deep passion for rights-based public policy and formidable work in HIV treatment, prevention and care in Malaysia and globally.
“(This) aligns with the commission’s commitment to upholding people’s dignity and human rights,” it said.