4 000 HIV patients resume treatment

The programme, funded by Pepfar and USAID, is intended to meet the nutritional gap of food-insecure families affected by Namibia's recent drought.

10 August 2020 | Local News

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK



More than 4 000 Namibian HIV patients who stopped taking their antiretroviral medication have resumed their treatment as a result of the United States' food assistance programme, which comes to an end in August.

“I simply could not take my medication on an empty stomach because of side-effects,” said Pezaje Tjazuvara from Otjinene in the Omaheke Region.

The 59-year-old family head is one of 147 patients in the region who have returned to antiretroviral care since she started receiving maize meal, beans and oil through the food assistance programme.

“I truly appreciate the food assistance which not only helped me feed my family, but also allowed me to take my pills again.”

Bridging the gap

The programme, intended to meet the nutritional gap of food-insecure families affected by Namibia's recent drought, is funded by the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate expressed his appreciation for the assistance, saying “it will go a long way and be remembered by our people”.

Following President Hage Geingob's declaration of a drought emergency in May 2019, the US embassy in Windhoek committed US$8.6 million (N$147.9 million) in food assistance to the most affected and vulnerable Namibians, including HIV patients.

Distribution began last December in Kavango East and Kavango West, and was then extended to several other regions of the country.



World Food Programme

The World Food Programme (WFP) will distribute the last of the food this month.

Using funds from Pepfar and USAID, the WFP distributed 10 000 metric tonnes of food to 350 000 Namibians over the course of nine months. The Office of the Prime Minister and the health ministry partnered with the US embassy and WFP to provide the food assistance to Namibians.

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