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DREAM OPEN DAY in Malawi

The role of Laboratory diagnostics in HIV and Co-Morbidities Management in the Era of Global 90-90-90

Over the course of August the first open day of the DREAM center “Elard Alumando” took place in Mandala, Blantyre. Malawi’s Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi was present, as well as many partners and collaborators of the DREAM Program in Malawi.

The day was an occasion to demonstrate to all of the stakeholders of the DREAM Program its main activities and the available resources (both in terms of equipment and human resources) which it can provide for the country and its partners, as well as the results that the Program wishes to achieve in the near future.

For years now DREAM has operated in Malawi, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and has recently broadened its scope to other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cervical cancer, diagnose and treatment of tuberculosis, hepatitises and other non-communicable diseases.

With the August event the wish was to show how the Program can contribute to the effort that the whole country is undergoing to improve the health of its citizens. At the same time, the event was an occasion to inform the participants and create a public debate on a few particular topics such as the role of the laboratories in the 90-90-90 strategy, the topic of resistances to HIV and the role of the laboratories in the treatment of hepatitis.

Over the course of its 12-year activity in Malawi, DREAM has contributed in various ways to the fight against AIDS, but one of its fundamental contributions was the development of a network of molecular biology laboratories. Therefore central to the event was the topic of diagnostics and their role in facing the existing challenges. For this reason, all of the guests showed great interest during the visit to the laboratory, led by its manager Dr. Richard Luhanga.

In one of his first official visits to the healthcare facilities of the country, the newly-appointed Minister of Health showed particular interest in the fact that the event, which took place in a health center and not in a conference room, allowed for a humane interaction with the staff of the program. Therefore not only the healthcare personnel such as lab technicians, doctors and nurses, but also the patients and the expert clients, beating heart of DREAM’s activities. In his speech he also mentioned the will of the country to stay ahead in the innovation sector, and do so together with partners such as the Community of Sant’Egidio and the DREAM Program.

Furthermore the event was a precious occasion to strengthen the relations with the main organisations active in the health sector such as UNAIDS, UNICEF, the CDC, the Clinton Health Access Initiative and the national cooperations of various countries.

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