The morning started with a strong rain over the city of Blantyre but at around nine o’clock the sky opened and a spring sun showed up to greet the opening of the new DREAM center at the maternity ward of Machinjri.
Machinjiri is a densely populated suburb in the outskirts of Blantyre, the same area where the Community of Sant’Egidios’s Nutritional Center “Giovanni Paolo II” is located.
In the crowded health center occur about one hundred deliveries each month.
It is some time now that DREAM, one of the components of the Malawi Project, works in cooperation with the maternity ward and with World Alive, an association that carries out HIV tests in pregnant women.
All the women found to be HIV positive in recent years have been received by the DREAM Program of the Blantyre center and were offered the possibility of, thanks to treatment, give birth to children free of the AIDS virus.
DREAM, in cooperation with World Alive and the District Health Office of Blantyre, decided to facilitate access to the many women eager to receive treatment by providing all services locally.
The necessary work to rehabilitate and prepare two small rooms made available by World Alive was carried out and now the center is fully operational for new admissions, withdrawals of blood,
medical visits, medicine delivery, nutritional supplement and home care.
A mobile team from the reference center in Blantyre will travel to Machinjiri a few days a week to deliver the foreseen services, and some of the activists of “I DREAM” and of the other partners of the Malawi Project, will be full time busy in the area to disseminate and inform about the activities and the objectives of the Program and also to support the sick women to follow correctly the preventive therapy.
This new center will facilitate access to all HIV positive women of the area that will no longer be forced to difficult and expensive trips to receive treatment, and this will enable them to be healthy and to give birth to children without AIDS.
As proposed by the scientific community for some years now, the big challenge ahead to win the battle against AIDS is offered by the provision of medical treatment to all HIV-positive people, in order to decrease the amount of virus present in the various body fluids and therefore reduce drastically the number of people who become infected with HIV, particularly in the prevention of the mother to child infection.
The Malawi Project has had in recent years an important development in the country. Today there are many public maternity units in which a team of DREAM welcomes pregnant women with HIV and delivers the therapy, following up to birth and accompanying the children until 18 months of age.
The outcomes of this intervention model have offered such gratifying results that the Ministry of Health of Malawi, in cooperation with DREAM, is about to replicate it at country level in all public maternity wards.