Kavango East HIV patients abandon ART due to hunger

Kavango East HIV patients abandon ART due to hunger
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Kavango East Regional Director in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Timea Gwira said the region has experienced more than 600 people who abandoned their Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) because of hunger and poverty.
Gwira said this on Tuesday while briefing the World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director, George Fedha who is on a familiarisation visit to the region.
Gwira who particularly gave a briefing on the PEPFAR food assistance programme said the region along with the Kavango West Region is considered to be one of the poorest regions in the country. A situation that has been a contributing factor to a series of social issues such as HIV and AIDS and teenage pregnancy leading to patients that are on ARV treatment abandoning their treatment because of hunger.
“We have experienced a lot of dropouts and most of the excuses the clients are giving are that they can’t take medication on an empty stomach,” she said.
Gwira said the programme, however, has assisted the region to retain its lost clients due to the availability of food.
She said the government is faced by challenges to provide nutritional food to HIV and AIDS patients and therefore applauded the organisation for assisting the government in providing the needed nutritional food to the patients.
According to the region’s updated statistics on people living with HIV presented by Sam Kaliba from the Rundu Intermediate Hospital, the Kavango East Region has 27 637 people that have been enrolled on the ART programme while 19 081 are active members of the treatment.
Fedha is on a familiarisation tour to visit eight regions that have benefited from the PEPFAR food assistance programme.
PEPFAR is a United States government initiative to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and help save the lives of those suffering from the disease.