Only Sausages, No Oil / Ignacio Estrada

Havana, Cuba — The Cuban population living with HIV recently received nutirtional help from United Nations Global Fund to Fight AIDS/HIV.

The benefit is being delivered to the sick through the commercial network after several months of unjustified absence. According to a source who works as a representative of the agency in Havana, the previous assistance has been affected by the increase in new cases of carriers of the illness.

The source also said that the new aid that has already been distributed would only be renewed for twenty-four more months. For years the UN program has maintained this food aid to the island and at times this benefit has been affected due to poor management on the part of the Cuban authorities. They cleverly insert themselves into the plan for aid to new cases, causing a shortfall of aid ahead of schedule.

It is clear that this aid is distributed for free and in principle it covers the food needs of the sick population with products such as juices, cereals, canned meat and vegetable fat. The products have dwindled as the epidemiological situation of the island has grown, until the point where the aid only includes canned meat and vegetable oil.

The recently delivered aid only provides a total of 22 small cans of sausages which must last for a yea; the vegetable oil has not been delivered. One of the beneficiaries asked how it was possible to live with two cans of sausage per month, noting that each of these cans contained no more than six sausages.

People living with HIV/AIDS in Cuba who receive the UN food aid, receive a “basic food basket” that is described as inadequate. It is a diet that places this affected population at a disadvantage in terms of quality, quantity and weight, according to where they reside.

By Ignacio Estrada

22 April 2013