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Children Living with HIV in Mukono Skip ART Treatment over Lack of Food

Sarah Zalwango, a guardian says that the children under her care have skipped treatment due to the food crisis. Zalwango says that she is aware of the implications of skipping treatment, but the children couldn't continue with treatment on an empty stomach.

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Children enrolled on antiretroviral therapy in Mukono district are finding it difficult to cope with the medication due to food shortage. Some of the children have either been skipping the life-prolonging drug or abandoned treatment altogether due to lack of food.

Those on antiretroviral therapy are required to take a meal before they take their medication.  Sarah Zalwango, a guardian says that the children under her care have skipped treatment due to the food crisis. Zalwango says that she is aware of the implications of skipping treatment, but the children couldn't continue with treatment on an empty stomach.

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Another guardian Mary Nalule says his twelve-year-old boy develops diarrhoea and loss of appetite whenever he takes ARVs without eating food. According to Nalule, it has been difficult for the child to adhere to treatment on an empty stomach.

The Chairperson for Persons Living with HIV in Mukono District Richard Aliwali says that more than 80 families on antiretroviral therapy have been hit hard by the current lockdown. He emphasizes the importance of ART patients eating something before taking drugs.

Aliwali also notes that apart from lack of food, several patients are struggling to access Antiretroviral Therapy-ART at various healthy facilities due to the ban on public transport. More than 8,000 people are on antiretroviral therapy in the entire district.

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The District HIV/AIDS Focal Person Dr Isaac Ddumba says that the lack of food brings in stress.  Ddumba says that the failure by the children to adhere to the drugs may result in drug resistance.

The Resident District Commissioner Mukono Fatumah Ndisaba says that Persons living with HIV are permitted to travel to health centres to collect their drug refills as long as they have a letter from the chairpersons. 

Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa, the LCV Chairperson Mukono asked the government to relax the lockdown.

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