Food is an essential commodity needed for growth and maintenance of the human body. Nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins play a vital role in keeping the body organs functioning properly. The body’s ability to fight against diseases is also boosted when the right foods are consumed. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic however, food became a scarce commodity for various vulnerable groups of people due to the lockdown which placed restriction on movement. Not long into the period, people started running short of food and other essentials. Among the group of vulnerable people were Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV). Their vulnerability was partly due to the fact that for some of them, HIV had compromised their immunity to fight the corona virus, and the lockdown prevented them from going to engage in economic activities to earn their living. As a result, these PLHIV needed to be supported with food items that would enable them to stay strong and take their antiretroviral medications (ARVs) as prescribed.
The Government of Ghana put measures in place to provide cooked and uncooked food packages to vulnerable people in certain selected areas. Corporate Ghana, Civil Society, philanthropists and all and sundry were called on to assist in providing vulnerable people with food support. The Ashanti Regional Technical Support Unit of the Ghana AIDS Commission therefore made contacts with institutions like the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council, Department of Social Welfare, MMDAs, Ministry of Gender to get some food for PLHIV.
These paid off and some food items were received for vulnerable people within the Greater Kumasi lockdown areas from:
? The First Lady H. E. Rebecca Akufo Addo through the Rebecca Foundation for 50 PLHIV. Each package included 1kg rice, starkist tinned fish, sugar, milo, indomie, powdered milk and tea bags.
? The Global Fund through WAPCAS for 3,396 vulnerable persons which included PLHIV and TB clients. Each package had 5kg rice, 4 tins of 400g tomato paste, 4 tins of 400g mackerel and 2 Litres of cooking oil.
? The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly/Metro Committee of GAC for 100 PLHIV within their metropolis. Each person received 5kg rice, 2Ltrs cooking oil, 10 tins of sardine, 2 American (Olanka) of gari, 2 American (Olanka) of beans, one crate of eggs, 200ml hand sanitizer, one surgical and one locally made face mask.
Health workers and Models of Hope at ART centers were contacted to identify beneficiaries. These items provided a lot of relief to the beneficiaries and they were very delighted to receive the food items and pronounced blessings over the lives of all involved in the distribution. Notable among these was a message recorded and sent to the team leader for the Global Fund distribution, the Executive Director of WAPCAS:
“ok, I do not know the name of the person who brought this package, but I, Maame Grace …….., together with all my peers who take our medication at KATH say that you have come to help us…I was initiated onto the ART twelve years ago and we say may God bless you. When we take the ARVs, we do not even get food to eat. When I am told to go elsewhere for medication, I resist and insist on coming to KATH. You use to take care of us in the past and now in this season of hunger, you have come to take care of us. May God bless you for what you have done, may He cause your job to progress and grant you your heart desire. May God grant you long life and strength and may He also grant us long life to continue to take our medicines. Amen”. (Beneficiary)
The Ghana AIDS Commission is a supra-ministerial and multi-sectoral body established under the Chairmanship of H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana by Act 2016, Act 938 of Parliament. The objective of the Commission is to formulate policy on the HIV and AIDS epidemic and...find out more