US donates food for HIV patients
19 February 2020 | Health
Up to 96% of Namibians who have tested positive for HIV are on the ART programme.
This was said by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila at the launch of a food aid programme for ART patients sponsored by the United States government.
This food assistance is for Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati, Kunene, Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West and Omaheke, which were identified as the most food-insecure regions last year. This assistance will complement the government's drought relief programme.
“The donation we are witnessing here today is aimed at ameliorating the impact of drought which has resulted in food shortages, targeting people who are on ART medication,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
The Catholic Aids Action and the Namibia Red Cross Society will assist with food distribution.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila urged the regions that will benefit to work together with the implementing bodies to ensure that the support reaches the people it is intended for.
“The collection points for this food are designed to avoid long-distance travelling by beneficiaries, and will be linked to existing drought-relief collection points,” she said.
“I wish to appeal to our communities to embrace this assistance and call on all those that would need this assistance to come forward and register at the nearest health facilities.
“By so doing, we ensure that lives are protected. It is pleasing to note that, coupled with behavioural change, the rate of HIV infections have decreased,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said. According to World Food Programme (WFP) country representative Bai-Mankay Sankoh, each household will receive 17 kilograms of fortified maize meal, three kilograms of beans and one litre of cooking oil a month for the next four months.
“It is our hope that this assistance, in addition to the drought-relief programme, will complement the rainy season. Food security is a fundamental basic need for every human being,” Sankoh said.
The US ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, said the American people would continue helping Namibians through their existing long-term relationship.
Johnson said even if many parts of the country received good rainfall, it would take three seasons before people who suffered from prolonged drought would be able to produce enough food for themselves.