Eat Healthy, Says Kaunda

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK In the fight against HIV/Aids, Namibians should go back to the basics of eating more nutritional food and stay away from processed “polished foodstuffs”. Former president of Zambia Dr Kenneth Kaunda and his son Dr Waza Kaunda said this during their visit yesterday at the Ministry of Health and Social Services. Dressed in a bright red and black African shirt and holding his trademark white handkerchief in his left hand, Kaunda said “prevention is better than cure” when it comes to combating the further spread of the HIV/Aids pandemic that is currently plaguing many Southern African countries. Kaunda, affectionately known as “KK” is in the country until tomorrow to share valuable information about the importance of Namibians going back to the basics of eating more nutritional food coupled with the regular intake of anti-retroviral treatment for those infected with HIV. Narrating the success story of the Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation (KKCAF) that started 45 years ago, president of the pilot project Dr Waza Kaunda said the key to taking this pandemic by the horns is to break the stigma and fear associated with the disease. This should then be coupled with early treatment of those people living with HIV, together with eating nutritional food. “As Africans, we have not yet responded to HIV/Aids in a pandemic manner. That is why we are still struggling with many Aids orphans. The death threat is ahead of us in the HIV treatment and the biggest fear is the fear of dying from HIV/Aids and the stigma associated with it,” explained Waza Kaunda. He added that the solution is to tackle the pandemic from the grassroots level by first educating the people about the disease and making them aware of the importance of eating healthy natural African foodstuffs especially vegetables and not just maize meal alone as a daily meal. It is only through understanding of the pandemic that people will be more keen to come forward for treatment. “Nutrition comes first, together with the fast roll out of ARVs from the centre to the community,” added Kaunda, saying faster intervention is needed especially at the grassroots level to minimise the rapid spread of the pandemic in Southern Africa. Welcoming the Zambian first president to the country, Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi echoed Kaunda’s message, saying time has come for Namibians to stick to the basics through healthy eating and taking their medication regularly. “It is a reminder for all of us to get back to the basics and eat food of nutritional value. It was us who made the mistake of eating polished food. But this is ‘unAfrican’ so let us avoid polished food,” said Kamwi, adding that it was only through unity that the nation and continent as a whole can fight the pandemic. Due to modernisation and urbanisation of the continent, people have turned to eating more processed food which does not have as much nutritional value as the original product. So there is need to consume healthy vegetables not only to fight the Aids pandemic but also other major diseases like Tuberculosis and Malaria. The event at the Health Ministry ended with lively singing of Kaunda’s well-known song calling for “unity of purpose in conquering HIV/Aids in Africa”. Kaunda is accompanied by former cabinet minister in Kaunda’s government Aaron Milner and Boniface Nkhoma from Aide De Camp. Yesterday morning, Kaunda also paid a courtesy call on Founding Father Sam Nujoma as well as President Hifikepunye Pohamba at State House.