Inmates at Rumphi prison who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) have asked for a balanced diet from authorities and well-wishers to improve their nutritional status and better adherence to the treatment.
The call was made Wednesday when Hope for Relief Organization conducted adherence assessment among inmates on ART with the aim to explore the challenges met in course of inmates adhering to ART.
One of the inmates on ART treatment who spoke on condition of anonymity said although they take the ARVs as prescribed, they lack nutritious food as per requirement, which can keep their bodies healthy.
“There are rare times when one would skip the ARV dosage but generally most of us follow the prescription despite the challenge that our diet here does not suit our condition.
“We are supposed to eat balanced diet for our bodies to be healthy as we are take the drugs, but the situation here is different, we only eat beans and at times vegetables with no any other nutritious food,” he said.
He asked the authorities to consider providing vegetables frequently so that the nutritional status of the inmates can improve.
“It is true that we have a garden where we grow the vegetables, but we eat the vegetables once a while.
“However, those inmates that have been sent to the garden to do some works are privileged to get the vegetables and eat as individuals,” he added.
The assessment found that out of the 18 male inmates that were assessed for nutritional status, five were found malnourished and were given soya flour as an immediate nutrition supplement.
One of the officials from the Nutrition Department at Rumphi District Hospital, Shallow Ngwira said the malnourished inmates need urgent nutritional food supplements to improve their immunity.
Hope for Relief Programmes Manager, Hastings Ziba said his organization is geared to improve the welfare of the inmates who are on ART treatment so that they should adhere to treatment.
“We are cordially working with our colleagues from Rumphi Prison to assist them with various interventions to improve the adherence and nutritional status of the inmates on treatment,” Ziba said.
The organization also provided Rumphi Prison with chemicals to apply into the garden where some small pests were feeding on the vegetables.
It also provided seeds of carrots, tomato and other vegetables as long term nutritional supplements.
Rumphi Prison Publicist, Falliot Chinkhoma said in interview that two per cent of the institution’s monthly funding is used to assist inmates on ART with nutritious food supplements.
He hailed Hope for Relief organization for complimenting government efforts.
“We understand that the two per cent might not be enough to cater for the needs of the inmates on ART but with support from other partners like Hope for Relief organization, we hope to satisfy their [inmates’] needs,” Chinkhoma said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :