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International News

Malawi: HIV-Positive Women Grow Own Food to Improve Their Health

February 18, 2009

Malawi's Coalition of Women Living with HIV/AIDS is encouraging HIV-infected women to grow their own food as a way to meet basic health needs and combat poor nutrition.

More than half of adults with HIV in Malawi are women. Studies show that a quarter of the country's adults are malnourished, and 75 percent of these people are HIV-positive. Women of child-bearing age and those with children under age five often do not get enough nutrition, in part due to government policies and traditional practices that prohibit women from owning farm resources for food production.

Poor nutrition weakens the body, hastening the progress of AIDS-related diseases and making it difficult for patients to adhere to antiretroviral regimens.

The coalition was formed in the northern district of Rumphi and is supported by ActionAid International-Malawi. "We decided to form the coalition after recognizing the challenges HIV-positive women were facing, more especially in accessing food. So the coalition is helping them meet some of the basic needs for their health," said Memory Chirwa, the district's food nutrition officer.

"We teach the women that they should eat nutritious foods so we therefore encourage them to grow various crops, like vegetables and maize. Some of the women are now keeping goats and chickens -- things that have changed their lives," said Chirwa.

Back to other news for February 2009

Adapted from:
Voice of America News
02.10.2009; Lameck Masina

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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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