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UN Food Agency And India Sign AIDS Accord

UN Food Agency And India Sign Accord On Aids Prevention, Treatment

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of India have signed a landmark cooperation agreement for addressing HIV and AIDS by using surplus Indian food to improve nutrition.

"WFP is proud to be a partner in this ground-breaking project and I am confident it will fulfil its dual purpose: to bring infection rates in the AIDS pandemic under control and give people living with the disease a longer and healthier life," WFP Executive Director James Morris said today.

He added that the accord, signed during a two-day conference staged by the Government's National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), was just one example of the growing links between India and WFP.

On a five-day official visit to India, Mr. Morris said the Asian economic powerhouse had both large grain reserves and vast experience in public food security programmes that can be marshalled for the benefit of the millions of hungry poor in Asia and around the world.

"WFP's partnership with India has tremendous potential for identifying innovative solutions to the problems not only of food insecurity but also the rising HIV rates and the natural disasters endemic to the region," he declared.

Sound nutrition is critical for people who are HIV-positive. When a patient develops AIDS, family food supplies often plummet. WFP will supply technical expertise in a three-year project that uses food in a variety of ways to encourage prevention, care and support of people living with HIV and AIDS as well as the treatment of opportunistic infections like tuberculosis.

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Mr. Morris noted that the Government of India had agreed to work with WFP to explore ways of applying India's strengths, such as emergency response to natural disasters, food-for-work programmes and communications technology, to the eradication of hunger and poverty, with a special focus on helping children.

The Government is WFP's leading "non-traditional" donor, with its pledge of one million tons of wheat to Afghanistan, delivered through the UN agency.

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