Addressing the Root

The article “All I Eat is ARVS” by I.A. Kalofonos reveals a tragic structural problem in Mozambique.  Kalofonos analyzes the recent prevalence of ARVs- a medication that combats and cures HIV patients.  From a quick glance, this medication is thriving- it is curing people and is free to the public! However, a deeper onlook reveals some disturbing realities. While there is no denying the drug is making AIDS patients healthier, many have tragically died of hunger afterwards. Furthermore, the prevention care center provides food aid to the patients, which -other members of the population argue- is taking the food aid away from them. ARVs are creating tensions in the community. It would be unfair to argue that ARVs are the sole reason for these tensions. Rather, the issue lies with the structure of the society where different social classes are receiving food aid and other are receiving none at all. The issue is that people are starving and while it is great that the government is caring for the HIV victims, in many ways they are neglecting the most fundamental health rights- including nutrition.

Food distribution is a careful, political ordeal in this small town of Mozambiqu- there never seems to be enough. – Sarah Salesa

Lack of nutrition has weighty consequences in spuring on other diseases, such as diarrheal disease.  Malnutrition weakens the immune system and leads to the contraction of many other diseases. Without food, the body cannot fight against diseases. According to E. Schlaudecker “underlying malnutrition is a major risk factor for diarrheal disease.” It would seem silly to find an expensive cure for diarrheal disease and make it free to the public, but do nothing to provide for the population’s daily food intake.  It would be pointless because the root of the problem must be addressed. Likewise, it is somewhat silly to combat HIV with ARVs and neglect providing adequate nutrition for those that are healthy.  Long term change occurs only when the root of the problem is adequately addressed.

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