Namibia: 10,000 Benefit From U.S. Food Vouchers

Okandjengedi — The US government through USAID has been providing food aid to 10 000 vulnerable families in drought-stricken areas in 10 regions since February this year.

The food aid is geared towards families suffering from the economic challenges due to Covid-19, particularly households with children affected by HIV and people at risk of contracting HIV.

The food aid is being rolled out in all the regions across the country with the exception of Khomas and the Hardap region.

The support provided is valued at N$6 million.

Victoria Shimwandi, a beneficiary of the programme, said the food has been of great help in her life, as she no longer worries about purchasing maize meal.

"It really helped me a lot. I no longer struggle for maize. With the little I have I buy relish," said Shimwandi.

Shimwandi said the food sustains her daughter and grandchild.

Speaking at the handover of the food donation, deputy chief of mission, Jessica Long said Namibia vulnerability assessment committee already in 2019 indicated that 42% of households were already severely food insecure.

She said the assessment suggested a significant increase in the number of people in need of urgent action to protect their livelihoods and increase food access. She said the situation is further exacerbated by natural disasters such as drought and pandemics such as Covid-19, which have further increased household vulnerability.

"We know that years of drought have left families and communities in dire straits and that the effects of Covid-19 on the economy have further exasperated the situation by leaving many people unemployed," said Long.

On the HIV front, Long said the country is close to reaching the 95-95-95 milestone.

This translates to that 95% of the people know their status, are on treatment and their viral load suppressed.

With these food items, people will more likely adhere to HIV and TB treatment, as there is evidence to prove that people who have access to food and nutrition are more likely to adhere to HIV and TB treatment and prevent HIV transmission.

"So access to food leads to a reduction in morbidity and mortality among people living with HIV," said Long.

Long further stressed that with the food vouchers, communities can now support local retailers and cut on transportation cost, leaving more money for the needy families.

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