NAIROBI, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Kenya's Ministry of Health and multilateral partners on Tuesday launched nutrition interventions to boost immunity among citizens infected with the AIDS virus.
Senior officials said the government has prioritized investments in nutrition programs as part of national HIV/AIDS response strategy.
"Nutrition plays a critical role in HIV treatment adherence, wellness and health outcomes of people living with this condition. It boosts the immune system and is a safeguard against opportunistic infections," said Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health Khadijah Kassachoon.
The Ministry of Health and partners have developed nutrition guidelines to boost HIV/AIDS management in the country.
Kassachoon said provision of micro-nutrients to people living with AIDS will be scaled up in high burden counties.
"We intend to mainstream nutrition into HIV services after scientific research indicated that people living with AIDS exhibits high levels of stunting and wasting due to micro-nutrients deficiencies," Kassachoon told health advocates.
The East African nation has one of the highest HIV burdens in Sub-Saharan with a national prevalence estimated at 5.6 percent.
The principal secretary for health regretted that food insecurity and malnutrition have compromised HIV/AIDS treatment and management.
"Majority of people living with AIDS are from poor backgrounds and are prone to acute malnutrition hence our deliberate efforts to provide nutrition interventions for them," said Kassachoon.
Kenya has made drastic progress in the fight against malnutrition thanks to the roll out of smart policy and funding interventions.
The Director of Medical Services in the Ministry of Health Nicholas Muraguri noted that stunting among children has declined from 35 to 26 percent in the last five years.
He warned that poor dietary choices have increased the vulnerability of people living with Aids to lifestyle diseases like cancers and diabetes.
"Kenya has adopted World Health Organization guidelines on providing nutrition supplements to HIV positive individuals taking anti-retroviral drugs," said Muraguri.