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border.gif (1K) Baseline survey:
Food insecurity and malnutrition
  • Reduced intake of key food groups among vulnerable household members
  • Decrease in access to food among vulnerable group

Due to lower production levels and less income, the most vulnerable groups reported that they had to decrease their number of meals, often consumed inadequate amounts of key foods and food groups (such as starchy staples, animal products, legumes, fruits and vegetables), and at times had an insufficient amount of food for the entire household.


Figure Namibia: Food insecurity (2002)
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Food insecurity is a widespread problem in Namibia. 43% of the total sample stated that they had experienced food shortages during the month prior to the survey. Widow- and orphan-headed households were less able to cope with the drought. This was reflected in the high proportion of these households reporting on food shortage, respectively 63% of the widow-affected and 55% of the orphan-headed. People usually did not have the ability to provide particularly nutritious food to HIV positive people. The comment heard was: "the food that we eat is the same for everybody".

Food insecurity was a serious problem in the study area in Zambia. The findings showed that 30 to 40% of all households had only 2 meals a day and 7 to 12% had only 1 meal a day. Female-headed households, and in particular those fostering orphans, are more vulnerable to the food crisis than male-headed households, as is reflected by a lower food-intake: 10 percentage points less female-headed households with orphans consume 3 meals a day as compared to male-headed households. Another important proxy indicator used is the consumption of meat. In the study area, meat is only consumed within male-headed households. Moreover, the number of male-headed households with orphans perceiving their intake of meat as adequate is half of those without orphans.

In Uganda, families in mixed and fishing communities have a high awareness of HIV-nutrition linkages, but do not prepare special meals due to competing demands on limited financial resources and time. Affected households, especially widow- and orphan-headed households, have less access to food as a result of decreased production and, since they are more dependent on hiring out their labour to access food, they tend to experience food problems during times of sickness of household members. Affected households in the pastoral communities increase the sale of milk over consumption in order to pay for medication. Consequently, water is added to the porridge as a substitute for milk, thus lowering the nutritional status. In the fishing communities, it was observed that widows sometimes sent their children to live with relatives where they would be able to eat. When in desperate need, it was noted that households have to resort to begging food from neighbours.

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Updated September 2003

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