Improving nutritional outcomes of HIV positive mothers and their children under 2

Nutrition plays a critical role in comprehensive care, support and treatment of HIV infected people. It is evident that there are complex interactions between nutrition and HIV/AIDS. HIV progressively affects the immune system and leads to malnutrition. Malnutrition aggravates the effects of HIV and contributes to more rapid progression of AIDS. Significant number of children has lost their parents even before the age of 2 years and is largely under the care of their (dependent) grandparents. Strengthening the capacity of service delivery institutions (in terms of human resources, assessment, equipments, supplements, IEC materials and usable Job aids), capacity building of health care providers (in terms of knowledge, skills, periodical assessments through monitoring and evaluation), providing ongoing support through mentoring and handholding and facilitating linkages for government welfare schemes are seen as necessary interventions for improving the quality of nutritional services. In addition, co-ordination with different state government and district level departments are vital to ensure their convergence and to integrate nutritional services with existing PPTCT and ART services. Thus, with the above background and under the broad agenda of child survival and development, Unicef initiated interventions to improve nutrition situation of children affected with HIV through strengthening of service delivery centers such as Paediatric Center of Excellence, Anti Retroviral Therapy Centers (ART) and Link ART Centers. Ensuring the regular supply, availability and utilization of nutritional supplements at Anganwadi Centers is crucial. Furthermore, field level support need to be provided to Out Reach Workers to deliver better services related to nutrition and Infant and Young Child Feeding practices and support mothers to practice what they learnt from counsellors and outreach workers. Siaap directly works with ORWs of TANSACs as well with HIV positive mothers in the communities to guide and supervise nutrition management for children under two years of age, that are ‘at risk’ or HIV-affected.