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International News

UN Discusses Fortifying Food for Southern African AIDS Victims

November 7, 2002

The fortification of maize meal to combat HIV/AIDS and the food crisis in southern Africa topped the agenda at a two-day UN meeting in Johannesburg, UNAIDS officials said on Thursday.

"Fortifying our maize meal is one of the recommendations we are looking into," said Richard Lee, UNAIDS spokesperson. Fortification, he explained, involves enriching food by adding nutrients such as vitamins. "We're looking at fortifying our maize meal to ensure that people get the nutrients they need. Everyone, not only people with AIDS, will benefit."

More than 50 representatives from UN agencies, local and international non-governmental organizations, donor nations and the Southern African Development Community attended the meeting, which began Wednesday morning. Delegates were trying to devise a new HIV/AIDS-fighting strategy, focusing on how the UN World Food Program can make food aid more nutritious for AIDS patients. A UNAIDS statement said people with HIV/AIDS should increase their food intake and eat about 50 percent more protein and foods rich in micronutrients.

A report by the UN Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in southern Africa showed that HIV/AIDS was the single greatest threat to the region's people. UNAIDS said that agricultural production has fallen significantly because many adults are too sick to work.

UN figures said that without food aid, 14.4 million people in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe are facing starvation in the next six months.

Back to other CDC news for November 7, 2002

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Adapted from:
Agence France Presse

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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