Feeding project on again

THE KwaZulu-Natal department of health yesterday pledged to resume its nutrition programme with immediate effect.

The department's pledge comes after Sowetan last week reported that more than 100000 beneficiaries were forced to go hungry because there was no money.

Beneficiaries include pregnant women, poor new mothers, malnourished adults, children and patients on Tuberculosis (TB) and antiretroviral treatment (ART).

Some centres distributing the supplement porridge have instead been giving out powdered milk.

Patients at St Mary's Hospital said they were being sent from pillar to post by the nurses.

"We are not sure what's going on. Some people are even scared to take their medication because they have not received their porridge," said one patient.

Yesterday health MEC Sibongiseni Dlomo said his department had allocated R61million for the nutrition programme in the current financial year.

He said the department piloted the feeding of patients on TB and ART to improve treatment results and to prevent poor people from falling out of treatment programmes because they were hungry.

"At inception a limited budget was used but as the programme was yielding good results the department saw the need to roll it out. KwaZulu-Natal was the first province to have such a programme," said Dlomo.