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Rafdzah Ahmad Zaki

Dr Rafdzah Ahmad Zaki is an Associate Professor in Epidemiology in the Department of Social & Preventive Medicine, University of Malaya. Currently, she heads the Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence-based Practice (CEBP) at the University of Malaya. She also chairs the TB Monitoring & Prevention Committee and is a member of the COVID-19 taskforce team at UMMC. She had received training in Evidence-Based Medicine from the University of Oxford and formal exposure in Clinical Epidemiology from the University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherland. She also attended a workshop on Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Disease at Imperial College, London to deepen her skill in mathematical modelling. She received an award from the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease for observership at the European CDC and learned about the surveillance system and outbreak preparedness at the international level.

Her first involvement in HIV/AIDS research was in 2014, where she explored the stigma and discrimination issue in Nigeria. It was a large population study, and her main contribution was in analyzing and interpreting the data. The study observed high discriminatory attitudes and practices towards PLWH. However, about 70% of the population are willing to care for relatives with HIV/AIDS. Recently she completed a study on discriminatory attitudes and practices related to HIV/AIDS in the health care sector in Malaysia. The study was conducted among professional healthcare personnel (doctors) from public tertiary hospitals and four district health offices in Kuala Lumpur and people living with HIV (PLWH) from two non-governmental organizations based in Kuala Lumpur. Stigma and discrimination among healthcare personnel in urban Malaysian healthcare settings appear to be driven primarily by perceived risk towards the illness, negative feelings as well as being judgmental towards PLHIV and experience of observing discriminatory behavior by other colleagues. All this leads to discriminative behavior and practices among the healthcare personnel.