Lack of proper nutrition is affecting treatment of people on antiretroviral drugs in Zambia, says International Committee for Women living with HIV (CWI) chairperson, Clementine Mumba.
Ms Mumba said many people on ART were unable to meet the required nutrition status for the heavy drugs they consumed on a daily basis due to high cost of living which compromised the quality of their health.
“Poor nutrition is a great obstacle to the success of ART because in most cases very few patients manage a balanced diet, while other patients abandon treatment all together because of the effects of the strong drugs due to lack of good food,” she said.
Ms Mumba said good nutrition was only not unique to people living positively, but was also a general requirement for any sickness as the body needed good food to be able to utilize the effects of the various medicines used in the treatment process.She however said with HIV, patients required proper management of their diet to complement the daily intake of the strong drugs.
She explained that most people with HIV could barely manage three meals a day due to high cost of living brought about by poverty.
Ms Mumba called on the government to provide necessary food supplements to help those on ART meet the nutrition requirements.
“Our appeal to government through its various departments, to identify households that require nutritional support and be able to provide support to such families.
“Most of the patients on ART are unable to meet the required nutrition required and could benefit from such deliberate programmes by government to improve the intake of their medication,” she said.
There have been growing concerns over the high cost of living in Zambia which was affecting people living with HIV as this could lead to ineffective therapy and treatment of HIV.