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Dr. Rajiv Shah Visits AED-implemented Nutrition and HIV Program

Dr. Rajiv Shah Visits AED-implemented Nutrition and HIV Program

On his first trip to Africa as USAID Administrator May 15, Dr. Rajiv Shah visited Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was briefed on the Nutrition and HIV Program (NHP). NHP builds the capacity of local firms to produce specialized food products and strengthens HIV care and treatment services by improving the nutritional status of ART clients, pre-ART clients, orphans and vulnerable children, and HIV-infected pregnant and post-partum women. Mbagathi is one of 106 hospitals in Kenya where the program is active.

Kenya MapWhile at the hospital, Dr. Shah, who was accompanied by USAID Mission Director Erna Kerst, had an opportunity to connect with NHP beneficiaries and emphasized the importance of taking an integrated approach to addressing HIV and AIDS, including nutrition support such as that offered through NHP, according to Dr. David Mwaniki, AED’s Senior Chief of Party.

“Dr. Shah is a clinician, and he knows Kibera, the area served by Mbagathi,” said Dr. Mwaniki. “He wanted to get a real feel for what’s happening. He wanted more information on the rates of malnutrition, and he talked about his own children when he met with patients.”

In addition to providing clients with fortified-blended foods and ready-to-use therapeutic food manufactured in Kenya, NHP also strengthens capacity in health facilities through health worker training, provision of reference materials, and by bolstering monitoring and supportive supervision. In addition, NHP enhances community-to-facility linkages, and improves monitoring and evaluation systems.

Dr. Shah was introduced to the hospital’s nutrition and HIV services by the head nutritionist, Eunice Kinanga , who noted that patients receive the full package of nutrition care, from assessment and education, to counseling and treatment based on food-by-prescription. In her presentation, she spoke about AED’s key role in helping to develop Kenya’s nutrition and HIV program.

Dr. Mwaniki briefed the Administrator on AED’s efforts to catalyze local production of fortified-blended foods and ready-to-use therapeutic food. “We also reported about the expected multiplier effect of local therapeutic food production on local agriculture, and what AED is doing to develop the local supply chain,” he added.

“The importance of nutrition and appropriate foods in the care and support of people living with HIV and AIDS cannot be overstated, and Dr. Shah’s visit has focused attention on this issue,” said Margaret Burns Parlato, AED’s Senior Vice President and Director of Global Health, Population and Nutrition programs. “Consistent with its role as USAID’s flagship nutrition and HIV program, NHP has hosted delegations from other countries seeking to start programs similar to it and is providing training materials to other countries in the region.”

Click here to view Dr. Shah’s blog post about his visit to Mbagathi Hospital.

Posted June 2010

Read more about the Kenya Nutrition and HIV Program (NHP) project