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Acute malnutrition hits HIV positive children, mothers in Gulu

The Aids Support Organization (TASO) centre in Gulu – Photo by Dominic Ochola

Gulu, Uganda| AFP |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Dozens of children and mothers living with HIV in Gulu are hit by acute malnutrition. According to records by The Aids Support Organization (TASO) centre in Gulu up to 49 children and 200 breastfeeding mothers are in dire need of food.  

An estimated 27,000 people are living with the virus in Gulu. But the area TASO Centre Manager Michael Ochow Okumu says there are more than 850 HIV positive mothers living on care with 558 children. Many are struggling to cope and their situation gets worse, day by day.  

Similarly, Betty Oker Owot, the representative of clients at the TASO Governing Council says her office is overwhelmed with mothers seeking food relief yet the organization is constrained by inadequate resources.  

She cautions that AIDS patients will be killed by hunger if they are not accorded urgent support because it is difficult to take antiretroviral drugs on an empty stomach. She added that several patients are missing on drugs and appointments posing threats of opportunistic infections.   

In May, the Organization supported 40 affected households with commercial seedlings and seeds to plant to sustain their incomes in order to improve on their livelihoods and enrich their long term dietary needs.  

The District Agriculture Officer Paul Kilama, HIV/AIDS affected households to utilize the available reliable rains to engage in small scale subsistence farming to improve on their food security to fight malnutrition.  

TASO with backing from Gulu District Local Government has locally raised 14 million Shillings for a pilot project aimed at addressing the food crisis among the population of people living with HIV/AIDS.

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