The DREAM program of the Community of Sant’Egidio has opened a new health center in the rural city of Dubreka, in Guinea Conakry. The building was financed by the Japanese Embassy in the country, and equipped with the support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.
It is the first DREAM center to be 100% solar powered: it is not connected to the national electricity grid and has no generators, relying on a photovoltaic system that can be upgraded at a later time if the need arises. A well supplies 2 tanks of water, used to optimize the functioning of a pumping system in the presence of solar energy. The health center’s water supply will soon be made available to the local populace through a public fountain.
The inauguration of the center comes a year after the signing of the agreement between the embassy and the Community of Sant’Egidio. Participants to the event included: the recently nominated Japanese Ambassador Hideo Matsubara, the UNAIDS Representative in the country Dr. Dado Sy Gnakassi, the Mayor of the city El Hadj Alseny Bangoura, representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the leaders of the local population and neighbourhoods.
Following the building of many schools in Conakry and in other areas in Guinea, and cooperation in several projects for agricultural development, the health center is the first to be financed by Japan in the country. Earlier collaborations took place with the DREAM program in Mozambique, including the construction of centers in Matola and Zimpeto.
The Japanese Ambassador to Guinea remarked that “The support to enhancing basic health services is one of the pillars of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development”.
DREAM has been present in Dubreka since 2011, when it opened a small “satellite” center in a rented house with the aim of enabling access to treatment to patients who did not reside in the capital, where DREAM has been operating since 2006 in a center equipped with a molecular biology laboratory.
The new center has 300 patients already in care and is a new starting point in the prefecture. It now plans on stabilizing its presence by providing daily care and through the construction, paired with examination rooms, of a small laboratory for haematology, biochemistry and analysis of the immune system.
The building represents a new opportunity for the DREAM program of the Community of Sant’Egidio to spread the culture of the right to health in rural areas. The health center will carry out awareness-raising activities on the ground also thanks to the presence of activists already operating in the area, coupled with the resolve of Coordinator Seny Lamah, witness herself to the possibility of defeating AIDS and changing one’s life by working in the service of the sick and most vulnerable.
Interviewed by state media, she encouraged everyone and especially women through her own story to renounce fear of the disease: “when I met DREAM and my daughter was born healthy, I understood that everything can change and that we shouldn’t be afraid”.
“Raising awareness amongst people is crucial. We will help you spread the news of this center”, Mayor El Hadj Alseny Bangoura stated, proud to be hosting the health center in his municipality.