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Italian Sister oversees nutritional assistance in largest reference centre for people living with HIV

25 years ago Sister Valeria Amato moved from Sicily to Guinea-Bissau and has since dedicated her life to providing nutritional assistance to people living with HIV and tuberculosis.  

Sister Valeria Amato oversees nutritional assistance for people living with HIV for the Catholic Mission of Cumura, a WFP partner. WFP/Wilson Gama

25 years ago Sister Valeria Amato moved from Sicily to Guinea-Bissau and has since dedicated her life to providing nutritional assistance to people living with HIV and tuberculosis.  

Sister Valeria Amato runs the Nutritional Assistance Services of the Catholic Mission of Cumura, the largest reference nutritional centre for people living with HIV and tuberculosis in Guinea-Bissau.  The Centre provides nutritional assistance to an average of 3000 patients per month.

In Guinea-Bissau, the second smallest country in West Africa, the prevalence of HIV at around 3 percent makes it among the highest in the region. The incidence of tuberculosis is also high and the co-infection rate with HIV is around 36 percent. 

“WFP Nutritional assistance is important for two reasons.  First because it focuses on the most vulnerable people who are not able to proceed with their professional activities.  Nutritional assistance increases the quantity and quality of food they can eat,” said Sister Valeria Amato.  “Second, it helps to monitor patients.  The nutritional assistance is an incentive for the patients to complete their treatment, helping minimize the default rate.”

Sister Valeria Amato explained that she made a life choice to assist people living with HIV and tuberculosis.

Nutritional assistance is essential to help people living with HIV to take their anti-retroviral medication.  In addition to nutrition support, the centre provides education and counselling pre and post-treatment and supplementary food support for beneficiaries’ households.

Working with its five partner organizations and NGOs, WFP is reaching more than 11,000 beneficiaries across the country.