Maputo — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed an additional contribution of 2.7 million US dollars from the United States to support pregnant and nursing women, and people living with HIV (PLHIV) or TB on anti-retroviral treatment in Mozambique.
A press release from the WFP Maputo office said that the money will be used “to buy, transport and distribute fortified blended food for the treatment of malnutrition among these vulnerable groups, whose situation has been made worse by the recent drought”.
WFP says that the additional funding will allow 170 health centres in the provinces worst affected by last year's drought (Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Sofala and Tete) to provide 21,000 people with nutritional assistance throughout 2017. So far, 100 tonnes of fortified food has been distributed. WFP pledges that a further 770 tonnes is on its way.
The release cites the US Ambassador, Dean Pittman, as saying “The United States is committed to supporting the people of Mozambique during these difficult times. We're committed to working with the most vulnerable groups, such as people living with HIV, to reduce suffering and ensure families cope with the negative effects of the drought.”
The contribution comes from the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), via the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Mozambique is one of 22 countries in Africa receiving PEFPAR support and one of eight UNAIDS priority countries within the Southern Africa region.
“A nutritious diet is an inherent component of care and treatment in the context of food insecurity,” according to WFP Country Representative and Director Karin Manente. “Support from the United States will enhance the uptake of, adherence to, and success of treatment amongst the most vulnerable groups.”
The release adds that people suffering from HIV or tuberculosis “are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition. Moreover, the antiretroviral medication they take loses efficiency unless combined with good nutrition. When PLHIV do not have enough to eat, they are less likely to adhere to their treatment - this can lead to increased viral load, opportunistic infections and progression of the disease”.