PRESS RELEASE TO MARK WORLD AIDS DAY 2021
1st DECEMBER 2021
INCREASED ACCESS TO BETTER SAFE NUTRITIOUS FOODS IS SIGNIFICANT FOR GOOD HEALTH OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS
Lusaka (Wednesday, 1st December 2021)- This year’s World AIDS Day being observed on the 1st of December 2021, whose theme is “END INEQUALITIES, END AIDS, END THE PANDEMIC”, the National Food and Nutrition Commission is calling for people living with HIV/AIDS and the general population to eat a healthy balanced diet in order to improve their health.
Although there is a reduction in the number of HIV infections and deaths in general, HIV infections have continued to rise among young people. According to the Zambia Demographic Health Survey of 2018, Zambia has a generalized HIV percentage of 11.1% with women being more infected at 14.2%. However, one hindering factor to improved health for people living with HIV/AIDS is inequitable access to better safe adequate nutritious foods. Partly, the challenge could be that some local communities prefer exotic foods which are expensive, compared to locally available nutritious indigenous foods. Compelling evidence show that consuming a balanced safe good healthy diet that has proteins to build muscles and a strong immune system, carbohydrates to give energy, fat to give extra energy, vitamins to regulate body processes, minerals to regulate body processes and form body tissues and water that shapes cells could improve the health of people living with HIV/AIDS as well as that of the general citizenry.
It’s been observed that, poor nutrition contributes to poor health among people living with HIV/AIDS and consequently leads to high mortality cases. Much more, high levels of malnutrition in HIV positive children and lactating women fuels deterioration of their health so much so that ART medication could not have any serious impact. Therefore, it is important for people living with HIV/AIDS to consume a balanced diet to strengthen their immune system. It is also highly recommended that families should invest in better nutrition and consume a balanced diet every day.
Arising from that, the National Food and Nutrition Commission is encouraging citizens to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein foods such as lean beef, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, whole grain foods, vitamin A and carotenes in form of liver, milk, pawpaw, carrots, mangoes, green peppers. Communities are also encouraged to feed on foods that are rich in vitamin B such as potatoes, water melons, avocado, as well as vitamin C rich foods, which include lemons, oranges and iron rich foods to strengthen the immune system. This is important as it helps the body to increase its capacity to fight off diseases.
Particularly in this rain season, many communities can easily access most of the green vegetables such as cibwabwa, bondwe and other vegetables as well as some available local fruits like mangoes, Masuku, and Mfungo. The National Food and Nutrition Commission wants to reiterate it’s call to people living with HIV/AIDS and the citizens to ensure that they consume a healthy balanced diet to improve their health.
Nutrition Education and Communication Unit
National Food and Nutrition Commission
P.O. Box 32669, Lusaka
Tel: +260 211 227 803