Nutrition scheme to save HIV patients

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The KwaZulu-Natal department of health has resumed its food nutrition programme to save the lives of more than 100000 HIV-positive and TB patients in the province.

Recently Sowetan published a story that the department had abruptly stopped the programme due to financial constraints.

For three months patients stood in long queues, while some "starved" outside government clinics and hospitals.

Yesterday, the department said it was able to "inject over R12million into the programme to supply nutritional packs for the HIV-Aids and TB patients".

About 11 service providers contracted to supply the nutritional porridge have already begun distributing the food, some as early as last month.

The service providers supply the packs to 11 districts.

Department spokesman Leon Mbangwa said current supplies would sustain the needy until the end of November to early December.

"The department launched the programme despite there being no allocated budget.

"The scheme assists in improving the treatment outcomes, especially to HIV and TB patients.

"Despite the current financial challenge, the department has been able to allocate this budget to ensure that the patients adhere to their medical prescriptions and improve their health," he said.

Mbangwa promised that the department would continue looking for more funds to continue the programme beyond December.

The programme, according to the department, boosts the immune system, helping patients to regain strength to resume work.