United States provides $4 million to alleviate impact of drought on people living with HIV

Food distribution in Mwenezi
Food distribution in Mwenezi in January 2017
Jason Taylor

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The United States Government has provided an additional US$4 million in response to drought affected areas in Zimbabwe, targeting people living with HIV in the most severely affected areas of the country.  This funding brings the total U.S. support to alleviate the effects of drought to $131 million, assisting 2 million people since June 2015. The funding comes from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  The activities will be implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  

USAID’s support to WFP will expand its nutrition activities at health clinics across Harare, Bulawayo, and Mutasa District, with a focus on providing food assistance and nutrition rehabilitation for malnourished individuals living with HIV and TB.  With this funding, WFP will scale up its assistance from the current 2,348 beneficiaries to over 27,000 individuals in the coming months.

USAID’s funding to UNICEF will expand its water, sanitation, and hygiene activities in 10 drought-affected districts with high HIV prevalence.  These activities will target 350,000 beneficiaries and aim to reduce morbidity and mortality from diarrheal diseases.

“These additional resources will complement US$127 million in emergency drought assistance which has been provided by the American people since the onset of the drought,” stated USAID Zimbabwe Mission Director Stephanie Funk.  “We stand with the people of Zimbabwe as the effects of this drought continue.  USAID continues to address Zimbabwe’s immediate food needs while also building resilience against future droughts.”

“Food security is especially critical for people living with HIV,” stated WFP Country Representative Eddie Rowe.  “These resources will ensure that people living with HIV can access the food and nutrients they need to adhere to treatment and live healthy, productive lives.”

UNICEF Country Representative Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya added, “The rainy season has increased the risk of diarrheal diseases as many families, including people living with HIV, still do not have access to safe water and sanitation.  This funding will enable us to save lives by increasing access to safe water, improving sanitary conditions, and providing much-needed information on hygiene and HIV.”  

People living with HIV are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, malnutrition, and diarrheal diseases.  HIV treatment is more effective for those who are properly nourished, and antiretroviral medications should not be taken on an empty stomach.  Lack of food is directly correlated with non-adherence to treatment which can lead to increased viral load, opportunistic infections, progression of the disease, and a higher risk of transmitting HIV to others.  Food insecurity can also pressure people into harmful coping strategies, such as transactional sex, which can make them more vulnerable to HIV infection.  

PEPFAR contributed $135 million toward Zimbabwe’s national response to HIV and AIDS in 2016, bringing total U.S. funding for the HIV epidemic to over $650 million since 2006.

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For more than 30 years, the American people, through USAID, have contributed over $3 billion in assistance to Zimbabwe.  Current projects include initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health systems and services, and promote a more democratic system of governance.

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

For additional information, please contact:

David J. McGuire, U.S. Embassy Harare Public Affairs Officer: hararepas@state.gov, +263 4 758800-1.  http://harare.usembassy.gov 

Victor Chinyama, United Nations Children's Fund – UNICEF: vchinyama@unicef.org, +263 772 124 268.

Fiona Guy, World Food Programme Harare: Fiona.Guy@wfp.org and +263 772 295 684 and+263 4 252471.