SAARC appoints Shabana Azmi as goodwill ambassador


Mumbai: SAARC member nations (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and India) who met in Kathmandu in the month of April this year, selected Azmi and the legendary cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya as SAARC goodwill ambassadors for HIV/AIDS from a large number of nominations which had been received from the member countries.

Azmi’s name was recommended by National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). The conferment of the title and the launch of the program for SAARC goodwill ambassadors are likely to take place during the 15th SAARC Summit to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 2-3 August. The National AIDS Control Organization, and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have congratulated Aazmi for being selected as the SAARC goodwill ambassador and for agreeing to contribute in the HIV/AIDS prevention program.

As the SAARC goodwill ambassador, Azmi will contribute towards meeting the overall objective of the SAARC regional strategy through facilitating implementation of SAARC regional Strategy on HIV/AIDS and its work plan in all countries. She would be addressing the issue of stigma & discrimination and would create greater awareness through mass media and public appearance in the region. She would also be responsible for mainstreaming HIV/AIDS to form part of development agenda and advocate for affordable treatment, care and support for PLHWA (people living with HIV/AIDS); and facilitating fund raising from within and outside the region.

The SAARC goodwill ambassador program was conceived with the objective of facilitating the SAARC Regional Strategy on HIV/AIDS and its work plan. Engaging regionally well-known personalities would not only provide necessary prominence to the issue but also ensure the message being reached to the furthest corner of the region.