The World Food Programme on Tuesday gave out eight laptops and eight multi-purpose coloured printers to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Banjul.
The items which also include a food and nutrition guideline document for HIV and tuberculosis patients were meant to enhance the work of healthcare officers on effective healthcare service delivery in the country.
Vcitoria Ginja, the repsentative of the World Food Programme in The Gambia while presenting the materials said the joint response to HIV/AIDS has made tremendous strides in recent years in the country.
“We recognise that caring for patients is greatly complemented by enhanced capacities and availability of equipment, she added. “This is why the WFP offered 8 laptops and 8 multi-purpose coloured printers. “In 2015, WFP will continue to advocate for resources with the aim of strengthening the national response to HIV and AIDS. The support will focus primarily on the integration of food and nutrition into health programmes. Food and nutrition assistance is an essential part of any comprehensive HIV treatment and care package. This is because people living with HIV have weakened immune systems and increase nutrition.”
The WFP boss said the guideline was there to complement gains achieved and to ensure that 'together we achieve zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination, as well as, close the gap'. “Proper food and nutrition plays an essential role in this equation. It keeps people living with HIV healthy, gives them a chance to live longer and enhances the effectiveness of their treatment,” she noted.
She also added that malnutrition is generally more severe among HIV positive people who are also most likely to be infected with TB, the primary cause of death in people living with HIV. She said WFP's ultimate objective is to lessen the social economic burden of HIV on individuals, households and communities.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for the remarkable support you provide to the WFP interventions in the field especially the nutrition assistance to children under the age of five and pregnant and nursing mothers.”
For his part, Omar Sey, the minister of Health and Social Welfare while receiving the materials thanked WFP for fulfilling its commitment and said their effort is in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding they signed with the ministry.
“The manual came at a time when the ministry of health is working on its strategic plan. I will make sure that the government takes ownership of the guideline. What makes me happy is that the food items highlighted in the document are Gambian locally produced food,” he said.