Persons with HIV applaud Aga Khan Foundation for food aid

Mr Romano Ssembajjwe, the project coordinator from Aga Khan Foundation (left), hands over food packages to the beneficiaries in Kampala on October 25, 2022. PHOTO

What you need to know:

  • More than 1,500 people in Kampala and Arua have been assisted since March.

Persons living with HIV/Aids have hailed the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) for providing them with food through National Forum of People Living with HIV/Aids (NAFOPHANU).
The AKF, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, with support from the European Union in March launched a project to distribute food to people living with HIV to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic among the group.
Speaking at the closure of the project in Kampala yesterday, Mr Romano Ssembajjwe, the coordinator, said it had benefitted more than 1,500 people in Kampala and Arua districts.

Quarterly initiative
“Since the project started, we have been distributing food to 500 people in each quarter that is in March, June, and October. We have mostly been looking out for vulnerable persons living with HIV,”  Mr Ssembajjwe said.
He added: “Each individual has been getting 5kg of rice, 5 packets of rice, 5kg of maize flour, 5kg of beans, and this food enables these people to take their medication since it’s challenging for one to take ARVs on an empty stomach.”
Ms Evelyn Ndagire, one of the beneficiaries, said she is grateful to the Foundation for reaching out.
“As people living with HIV/Aids, we can’t take the medicine without eating because it is strong and it makes you feel nauseous and dizzy. We wish other organisations would also support us,” Ms Ndagire said. Mr Sam Bujjingo, another beneficiary, said his life had greatly changed.
“Ever since I started getting this relief, I eat well and take my medicine on time, my health has improved, thank you our sponsors for the initiative,” Mr Bujjingo said.
Ms Stella Kentusi, the executive director of NAFOPHANU, appealed to other organisations to come on board.
“We have been telling our people to grow food because this was a temporary programme but we call upon the Office of the Prime Minister to give them food like they always do for others. Most of these people are financially constrained and economic times are hard yet food is important for them because they can’t take medicine when they haven’t eaten,” Ms Kentusi said.
Data from Uganda Aids Commission shows that as of December 2021, there were 1.4 million people living with HIV/Aids, 54,000 new infections, and 17,000 annual Aids-related deaths. 
Statistics also indicate that the progress on the 95-95-95 target (95 percent knowing their HIV status, 95 percent receiving ART, and 95 percent being virally suppressed) stands at 89 percent, 82 percent, and 78 percent, respectively.