The Food Aid Problem Continues for People with HIV/AIDS in Cuba / Ignacio Estrada

By Ignacio Estrada

Havana, Cuba – The population affected by HIV/AIDS in Cuba is still not receiving oil as part of the aid from the United Nations Global Fund.

The Cuban community living with this disease has been living without aid since late 2012 and this continues to date. The aid was restored only a month ago and is expected to be only a total of 22 cans of sausages for all the rest of the year. Meanwhile vegetable oil has not been deposited in the warehouses for distribution.

According to what we learned, the food aid being delivered has only been approved for two years, due to continued growth of the population that lives with HIV/AIDS in Cuba, figures which are kept a state secret by the authorities in power. The appearance of these figures in the media would put in the public arena the uncertain efforts of the faltering health system.

It is important to clarify that aid provided by the UN relieves the lack of products on the island and is a relief for every home where a person lives with the disease.

I asked one of the UN officials in Havana — who preferred that his name not be mentioned — “Why did the help end before the scheduled time?” and he unhesitatingly replied, “The health authorities on the island receive help for a specific number of affected, which are backed by our project. Each year in Cuba new cases are detected and they are given the help of the already approved initial figure. This fact makes the products run out sooner than expected and causes the bumps from one year to another…”

The truth is that this year the population that lives with HIV/AIDS has received as aid only hot dogs and there is already talk of a second round with the same amount but vegetable oil is conspicuously absent. What many do not know is that even apparently after the next installment Cuba will say a final farewell to an aid which for years has palliated the hunger and the needs of the sick on the island.

27 May 2013