The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of US$3.1 million from the Government of Sierra Leone and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria – enabling WFP to scale up nutritional support for more than 20,000 Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and tuberculosis (TB) patients.
People living with HIV have weakened immune systems and increased nutritional needs. Proper nutritional support is essential to ensure that their treatments work. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Sanitation, WFP is providing nutrition support to ART clients & TB patients through community health centres in Sierra Leone.
With the contribution from the Global Fund, WFP will be able to purchase staple foods, including rice, pulses and fortified vegetable oil. A food basket containing these items will be provided to undernourished ART/TB patients and their families to ensure an effective treatment. Additional fortified blended food like Super Cereal, a highly nutritious corn-soya blend, is provided to ART and TB patients for the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition.
“WFP has partnered with the Ministry of Health & Sanitation to enhance service delivery to undernourished ART and TB patients, and to ensure that they adhere to treatment. With the support of the Government and the Global Fund, WFP’s food assistance will help maintain effective treatment for people living with HIV and TB in Sierra Leone,” said Peter Scott-Bowden, WFP Representative in Sierra Leone.
During the Ebola outbreak, WFP was able to continue to provide nutritional support to ART and TB patients. In 2015, the programme supported about 5,900 ART patients. The contribution will allow WFP to continue this vital nutritional support programme, scaling up to reach 20,000 more people affected by HIV and TB across the country.
“Treatment, counselling, food and supplement deserve equal status in our priority setting in combating HIV & AIDS,” said Dr. Momodu Sesay, the Director of the National AIDS Secretariat.
Proper nutrition is an essential means of protecting the lives and livelihoods of people living with HIV and TB. Improved food security also plays a critical role in helping to stop the spread of the epidemics.