As part of efforts to improve and prolong the health and life of People Living with HIV and AIDS, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, World Food Program (WFP) and partners early this week officially launched the National Guidelines for People Living With HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) at the Bintumani conference Hall, Aberdeen.
Launching the guidelines on behalf of the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. P.A.T. Roberts, who is also the acting Chief Medical Officer, remarked that with the national prevalence rate of HIV & AIDS at 1.53 percent and low levels of nutritional knowledge, the guidelines would create awareness of the need for nutrition as a fundamental part of a comprehensive care package and support, at the national level, to PLWHA.
He further said that the guidelines explained actions to be taken by health and social service providers in order to provide quality care and support to affected groups.
World Food Program Senior Program Officer, Jyoti Rajkundlia said “Treatment, counseling, food and supplements deserve equal status in our priority setting in combating HIV & AIDS”. She also emphasized the need for nutrition education and intervention across all lines of HIV care and treatment.
In her contribution, the UNAIDS Country Coordinator, Mulunesh Tennagashaw commended the initiative and wished that the launch of the guidelines would be an entry point to many more initiatives that create a supportive environment for PLWHA and enhance their involvement and participation in the national response.
The National HIV/AIDS Secretariat Director, Dr Brima Kargbo on his part said that the document would offer practical recommendations for healthy and balanced diet aimed at improving the nutritional well-being of PLWHA and called for the inclusion of nutrition as an integral component of a comprehensive package of the treatment and care strategy for people living with HIV & AIDS in order to break the vicious cycle caused by the virus.
In closing, Dr P.A.T. Roberts urged all stakeholders, particularly providers of service to people living with HIV & AIDS to appropriately use the guidelines to provide better care and support to the affected groups.