Officials Call on HIV/AIDS Network in Botswana To Partner With Agriculture Ministry To Address Food Insecurity
Officials at a recent seminar in Botswana's capital of Gaborone called on the Botswana Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS to partner with the Ministry of Agriculture to address food insufficiency, which hinders the country's fight against HIV/AIDS, the Daily News Online reports. Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust Director Stephen Muliokela said that HIV/AIDS, food and nutrition are inseparable because HIV-positive people tend to respond better to treatment when they have sufficient nutrition and strengthened immune systems. He added that treatment often fails without proper nutrition and that without resources to secure food, people could turn to commercial sex work.
The seminar was held under the theme, "Strengthening HIV/AIDS and Food Security Copying and Mitigation Mechanisms Among People Living with HIV/AIDS in Botswana." Monica Tselayakgosi, program planning manager of the National AIDS Coordinating Agency, said, "Increased food insecurity is forcing HIV/AIDS affected household[s] to depend more on hand-outs as the extended family system is now disintegrating." She added that the increasing level of poverty in Botswana has "implications" for food security, the ability of communities to respond to HIV/AIDS and people's susceptibility to the disease.
Waza Kaunda, director of the Kenneth Kaunda's Children's Foundation, said that it is important for physicians to understand the link between nutrition and HIV/AIDS, adding that preventing deaths from malnutrition can have wide-reaching implications. "When you keep the mother alive, you prevent having orphans," Kaunda said (Sekhobe, Daily News Online, 9/10).