IRIN/AllAfrica.com Examines Effect of Drought on HIV-Positive People in Kenya’s Makunei DistrictIRIN/AllAfrica.com on Wednesday examined the effect of drought conditions on HIV-positive people living in Kenya's Makueni district. The region -- which "traditionally depend[s] on agriculture and livestock" and has a HIV-prevalence of about 6% -- has seen "crop after crop fail, while their animals die as pasture and water dry up," IRIN/AllAfrica.com reports. The nongovernmental organization Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, also known as German Agro Action, estimates that more than 60% of the district's population has incomes below the poverty level, and at least 45% of the children are malnourished. Although the provincial government provides maize flour, the food often is "unpalatable" and not sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of HIV-positive people taking antiretroviral drugs, according to Richard Onkware -- head of medical services at the Sub-District Hospital in Makindu, a town in the district with an HIV prevalence of about 11%. Onkware's hospital provides antiretrovirals and includes a tuberculosis clinic, but he said the clinic does not provide nutritional supplements except occasionally for fortified flour. According to IRIN/AllAfrica.com, the U.N. World Food Programme and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have distributed food to people in need, including children and HIV-positive people, but some NGOs are wary of "singling out HIV-positive people for special food distribution while severe shortages are widespread" (IRIN/AllAfrica.com, 3/28).
Spread of HIV in Lake Victoria Area Related to Fish Trade, Official Says
HIV prevalence in the area around Lake Victoria in Kenya has increased to about 30%, in part because of fishermen demanding sex from women to guarantee the purchase of fish, Charles Muiruri, a provincial administrator for Kenya's Nyatike district, said recently, Kenya's Daily Nation reports. "This practice has led to a quick spread of HIV/AIDS in Nyanza, causing a sharp increase of orphaned children," Muiruri said, adding, "Fishermen are also dying in large numbers." According to the Daily Nation, Muiruri has asked Ochola Ogur, a member of the Kenyan Parliament for the region, to create a fund for educating orphans in the area (Daily Nation, 3/28).