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nutrition

Project Tariro provides a nutritional garden to feed others and help them grow their own.

Supplemental feeding for Project Tariro clients

Good nutrition is often a problem for people with HIV.  The body’s natural defense system becomes so weakened by the AIDS virus that the immune system is highly dependent on one’s diet.  Good nutrition is the core component of Project Tariro’s holistic approach to helping persons living with AIDS (PLWA) live positively with HIV and AIDS.  This approach is particularly important in Zimbabwe where hyperinflation in a collapsing economy resulted in serious food shortages, a very high rate of unemployment and malnutrition.

The impact of HIV on the body starts early, especially inZimbabwe. Reports published by USAID state:

“The body needs additional energy and nutrients to replicate the virus, compensate for nutrient losses, and physically battle symptoms such as fever or anemia, which are often present in HIV infection. Over time, PLWHA gradually decrease their physical activity, limiting their capacity to carry out regular daily activities.  As HIV progresses,  individual generally suffer from lost of appetite, nausea, constipation, bloating and heartburn.  PLWA tend to have carious oral conditions that can make it even more difficult to chew and swallow food.  Moreover, HIV infection can also reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, further increasing nutrient gaps.”

With still no AIDS drug cure in sight the focus of international relief agencies has shifted to improving the nutrition of persons living with AIDS (PLWA).  Without a healthy diet even antiretroviral medications are not as efficient as they should be.  Project Tariro seeks to improve the diet of its clients through education, hands-on experience in the development of nutritional gardens, supplemental feeding, and assistance in developing home gardens.

 Project Tariro employs a Nurse Nutritionist to instruct clients on how to improve their diets and to provide supplemental feeding at Project Tariro’s center to improve the client’s diet with vitamins, herbs, and formulas during their weekly visit to the center.   The project also employs a Horticulturist to develop the demonstration garden cooperatively with the clients on a plot adjacent to the Old Mutare Hospital.  Clients learn the importance of adding organic matter to the soil, using drip irrigation to grow vegetables all year, and which vegetables are high in protein and nutrients such as Quinoa, Lentils, Amaranth and Sweet Potatoes.  Seedbeds are maintained to provide seedlings of Moringa and other nutritious plants for transplanting into the client’s home garden.

Tariro clients harvesting “kovo” (stalk spinach)

Clients preparing gardens at the Tariro clinic

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