Nutrition and Infectious Diseases

Nutrition plays an important role in preventing illness and reducing morbidity and mortality in people living with HIV, TB, malaria, and other infectious diseases. A healthy diet can help people living with these diseases better manage symptoms, maximize the benefits of medications, and enhance their quality of life. To prevent malnutrition and improve the nutritional status of people affected by infectious diseases, especially HIV and TB, FANTA supports the implementation of the nutrition assessment, counseling, and support (NACS) approach in a number of target countries. The NACS approach strengthens the capacity of facility- and community-based health care providers to deliver nutrition services when linking clients to nutrition-related interventions.

Our work addressing nutrition and infectious diseases includes the following activities:

  • At the global level, developing detailed step-by-step instructions for frontline workers on integrating NACS, including the provision of specialized food products to treat malnutrition into clinical services.
  • Working with and supporting national governments to:
    • Develop national guidelines, training and reference materials, and job aids for the implementation of NACS.
    • Incorporate pre-service training on the integration of NACS into HIV and TB care into medical and nursing education partnership initiatives in Ghana and Ethiopia.
    • Integrate NACS indicators into health management information systems and evaluate the implementation of NACS services to inform scale-up.
    • Strengthen the harmonization of the NACS approach and Integrated Management of Malnutrition (IMAM) services in Vietnam and Uganda.
  • As a member of the Partnership for HIV-Free Survival (PHFS) initiative, contributing to improving the quality of postnatal nutrition services provided to HIV-infected women and their children. FANTA’s role is focused on supporting PHFS member countries in accelerating the adoption of WHO’s 2010 guidelines on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and on infant feeding.
  • Collaborating with the FHI 360/Livelihoods and Food Security Technical Assistance Project (LIFT) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, and Tanzania to strengthen referral links between facility-based nutrition services and community economic strengthening, livelihoods, and food security support.
  • Developing and supporting tools and resources for integrating nutrition into care and support for people living with infectious diseases, such as:
    • Working with the Children’s Hospital in Boston on the development of a tool to help field practitioners interpret anthropometric measurements more quickly and accurately.
    • Field-testing a costing tool for the planning and budgeting of NACS services.