Health and HIV advocates call for Govt intervention on foodpacks

A HEALTH advocate is appealing for government’s support backing its bumper harvest claims not reflecting in the lives of people living with HIV.
People with chronic diseases bear the heaviest brunt of food insecurity at a time when the Zimbabwean government boasts of bumper harvests yet there is nothing allotted to them.
This comes amidst disheartening revelations that people living with HIV are defaulting their HIV medication for they do not have food.
This also confirms statements vox pops said they are more concerned with hunger than COVID-19.
During a Zoom Health Communicators Forum and Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre (HIFC) organised meeting where the topic on HIV in the midst of COVID-19 was being discussed, a COVID-19 survivor also living with HIV said it was distressing learning that others were defaulting giving hunger as an alibi.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Zoominar, seasoned health issues advocate Tariro Kutadza said government should not only preach of bumper harvests while ignoring the dire nutrition crisis endured by people with chronic diseases.
“This thing when we say we have a bumper harvest, the Ministry of Agriculture should also be on the look out for people living with chronic diseases such as HIV. They already have chronic diseases. While others are tilling their lands and bumper harvests, these people are concentrating on their health. This affects the whole family when an unforeseen undesired event strikes,” she said.
She recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture should allot a portion of the vaunted bumper harvest to these people.
“When we say the country has a bumper harvest, we should put aside a percentage for the people with chronic conditions as HIV and people with TB. These medications require good nutrition which is very important for someone who is ill,” said the health advocate.
She explained that families or carers of people living with chronic diseases endure what they term catastrophic fees.
“Catastrophic fees or issues that come with having someone ill in the family. It transcends beyond medicines going into issues of transport and nutrition,” said Kutadza.
She said these claims of food security and bumper harvests not being reflected on tge ground chase away donors who want to donate foodpacks.
“Those catastrophic fees are so silent at household level so we are saying Ministry of Agriculture should also look into that even when there partners who need to give foodpacks, they should not just deny claiming to have produced bumper harvests. They are already disadvantaged by their illnesses and the whole family can be disadvantaged when there is someone ill at household level. They cannot go and till the land when there is someone ill whom they need to nurse. It affects everyone,” she said.

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