In Kenya, AIDS Therapy Includes Fresh Vegetables
April 5, 2007
About 80 percent of Kenyan HIV/AIDS patients improve once they receive antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, said Dr. Joe Mamlin, an Indiana University (IU) professor of medicine who works at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. But for the 20 percent who fail to respond to treatment, inadequate diet is typically an issue, he said.
Food security issues challenge many African countries with large AIDS epidemics and affect many HIV patients, undercutting ARV treatment outcomes. In Kenya, IU and the Moi University School of Medicine have developed a collaborative food-HIV/AIDS treatment partnership called the Academic Model for Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS (AMPATH).
Every week, AMPATH's large farming component distributes four tons of fresh vegetables, fruit, and eggs to clinics in western Kenya. A stream and a human-powered pump help irrigate the crops. Last year, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief provided AMPATH with $11 million. The program received about $2 million more in private donations and research grants. The World Food Program (WFP) also helps AMPATH, providing grains and cooking oil.
In line with last year's formal UN declaration that AIDS patients need nutritional support, WFP also feeds AIDS-affected families in many countries. In September, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began funding programs to increase agriculture yields in Africa, as part of a comprehensive response to AIDS.
AMPATH treats about half of its 40,000 HIV/AIDS patients with ARVs and feeds more than 30,000 people, including patients and their families. The program's staff of almost 900, mostly Kenyans, teaches advanced farming techniques to thousands of patients so they can grow food independently.
Wall Street Journal
03.28.2007; Roger Thurow
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.