Although it is difficult to measure impact, the REEP team feel that there are far fewer deaths from HIV/AIDS since the food aid programme has been introduced. "As many as 15 people were dying a month, now some months go by without any deaths". Mary Makopkha feels that many people died from starvation rather than opportunistic infections. At an ENN interview with a support group of PLWHA (approx 20 people), there was very vocal support for the food aid. They all claimed their health had improved substantially, they had physically gained quite a lot of weight, and that they "felt much better." Many had gone back to work and all were mobile and looked healthy. Respondents also claimed that they were able to tolerate drugs better. As some drugs need to be taken on a full stomach, compliance is compromised where households are food insecure. Many in the group said that the combination of the co-trimoxozole (Septrin) and food assistance had made a major difference in their well-being. An impact study (still in draft form) suggests that the very poor households that receive the food assistance derive a large proportion of their diet from this food aid. In a community where 54% of the population are in the absolutely poor category (WFP baseline study), it is difficult to target the most needy. However, it appears that by targeting through the CMC, the most needy were better targeted.
Source: ENN ONLINE