Inadequate nutrition has been identified as the main health concern in the care of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Kenya, as it compromises the efficacy of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and further weakens the immune system. To address this severe difficulty faced by some of the most vulnerable patients at Lodwar County & Referral Hospital (formerly Lodwar District Hospital), RMF has initiated a greenhouse farming project for food-insecure and vulnerable families and HIV-positive community members and their families. The project targets 150 households, primarily those of HIV-positive women and mothers of childbearing age who seek treatment at Lodwar County & Referral Hospital.
Construction of a greenhouse is underway on a secure plot near the hospital, and we are assembling a team comprised of a nutritionist, agricultural officer, and select business people who will train and help motivate program participants to implement good nutrition, farming practices, and business management. This project aims to improve the nutritional status of HIV-affected families by providing farming supplies, training, crop storage facilities, and assistance with the marketing and transportation of crops. In offering this support, it is RMF’s goal to provide vulnerable women and families with long-term food security and skills, improving their nutritional status and overall health and lowering mothers’ chances of passing the disease on to their children.
- Improve the nutrition status of HIV-infected and affected families
- Provide a long-term, sustainable livelihood and food security solution
- Build capacity, infrastructure, and confidence within the local community
RMF has been active in the drought region of Turkana County, Kenya since 2009, initially providing emergency relief, and continuing to improve the quality and accessibility of health care in the region. Despite our efforts and those of the Kenyan government and other organizations, 80% of households in Turkana remained food insecure in 2015, and undernourishment continued to negatively affect the health and livelihoods of HIV-positive community members (6.5% HIV prevalence in men and 10.8% HIV prevalence in women as of 2014).
In January 2017, RMF initiated our greenhouse farming project, which targets 150 households, primarily those of HIV-positive women and mothers of childbearing age who seek treatment at Lodwar County & Referral Hospital. Through this livelihood pilot program, RMF aims to provide a long-term, sustainable solution to undernourishment, food insecurity, and limited livelihood skills among HIV-positive women and mothers, as well as their families, in Turkana County, Kenya.