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Category Page: News

Malawi: A new dream centre opens in Blantyre

A new DREAM centre has opened in Malawi, in Blantyre , in the south of the country. It complements the centre that has been in operation for some months in the area of Mthengo wa Ntenga, near the capital, Lilongwe .

The DREAM project for Malawi , managed by the Community of Sant’Egidio with the financial support of Banca Intesa and the Cariplo foundation, wants to cover the whole of the county by establishing ten or so more centres. The new centres will all refer for blood analyses and the monitoring of anti-retroviral treatment to three large-scale high-tech laboratories of molecular biology.    



The recently opened DREAM centre is the second one dedicated to s


Guinea: New DREAM centre opens in Conakry

The new DREAM centre went into operation on the 13th March in Conakry, Guinea, a country of nine and a half million inhabitants on Africa’s west coast.
This is the first centre totally in DREAM’s management to open in French-speaking Africa. It represents a further crystallising of a bold dream of hope and life whose reach, having touched and changed the destinies of so many men and women in Mozambique, in Tanzania, in Malawi and in Kenya, now extends to Guinea and its people.
The new DREAM centre is another expression of Sant’Egidio’s love of Africa. At the same time, it is the offspring of an undertaking made in November of 2004, when the Community of Sant’Egidio was awarded the Balzan Prize for Peace and Brotherhood among Peoples. specifically for its combating of AIDS in Africa. On that occasion, when receiving the prize, it was announced that the sum awarded would go to initiating anti-retroviral therapy in Guinea Conakry.

And this is just what has happened. The premises opened in the Guinean capital was purchased and equipped for action using precisely those funds awarded to the Community back then.

Months of planning and work have given life to a large, attractive centre: a centre of excellence, a point of reference for other such projects to come in Western Africa. It testifies to the fact that it is both possible and a duty to extend the same quality of medical care to both Europeans and Africans, in the hope that these resurrections of African sufferers from AIDS may foreshadow the resurrection of the continent of Africa itself.
The new centre comprises a laboratory of molecular biology run by Guinean biologists and lab technicians who have received their training in the past months; a wing in which a programme to prevent the vertical (mother-child) transmission of HIV infection will be started, and another wing for the administration of anti-retroviral therapy to adult and child sufferers.
There are waiting rooms, a small seminar room for training activities, an office, and a store for nutritional supplements.
AIDS sufferers who have been in our clinic in the past few days have been astounde


Mozambique: party at Machava for DREAM’s fourth birthday

The fourth anniversary falls right about now – it was on the 28th February 2002, to be precise, that the first DREAM centre for antiretroviral therapy in Africa, the Machava centre, opened in Maputo, Mozambique.
DREAM, then, completes its fourth year: four years of realising and tending a dream, four years of top quality medical care, freely accessible and cost-free to many in Africa. They have been four years of work and commitment to extending the right to health to that most neglected of continents, to ensuring that drugs that have saved many lives in the West be put at the disposal of Africans, too.

To the Community of Sant’Egidio, this right to therapy appeared to be a human right violated, disregarded, often without so much as the violation being noted as such at the level of our consciences. Nonetheless, the Community felt itself duty-bound by the silent appeal arising from the sick of many African countries: from adult men and women, from young people, from a multitude of children.

Here it was, then, this task of planting a tiny seed in Mozambique, at Machava, on that 28th February 2002: the seed of treating people affected by AIDS on African soil, a seed to prevent the vertical spread of HIV, to secure the continent’s future.

That seed has borne many fruits. DREAM has grown. To the first Mozambican centre at Machava, many others have been added. Matola and the Polana Canico, in 2002. Beira, in the centre of the country, and three more Mozambican facilities in 2003. Nampula and Quelimane, in the same country, in 2004; and then Iringa, also in that year, the first DREAM centre outside Mozambique, in Tanzania. And then in 2005, also in Tanzania, Arusha and Usokami; but also, in the same year, the reaching out of our DREAM to many other countries: to Malawi, with the centre of Lilongwe; to Guinea Bissau, with the centre opened in the capital; to Kenya, with the centre of Tharaka. Bringing us, now in 2006, to the forthcoming opening of the DREAM centres of Conakry, in Guinea, of Blantyre, in Malawi, and of Abuja, in Nigeria, and to the joint venture with centres run by religious congregations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Angola.

The figures for these few, but packed years, tell the story. The various DREAM centres have tested over 22,000 persons. Their laboratories have processed more than 80,000 blood samples, including tests for viral load and CD4 count. Our doctors have performed more than 115,000 visits. More than 11,000 patients are receiving treatment at present, of whom over 5,000 are on anti-retrovirals, a fifth of them children. There have been 2,200 expecting mothers whose pregnancies have been accompanied by treatment to prevent vertical transmission: more than 1,500 babies born disease-free. 13 training courses for the staff of the centres: 12 in Mozambique and one in Tanzania, have contributed to improving the level of professionalism of many African men and women, participants in the dream of opening this continent to a future that is free from AIDS.

That 28th February four years ago, when all this began, we commemorated on Friday 3rd March, in Machava itself, with a


The Community of Sant’Egidio Announces Donation from Bill Gates in Support of its AIDS Prevention and Treatment Program in Africa

DREAM (Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS and Malnutrition) Provides Services in Mozambique, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.


Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect of the Microsoft Corporation, is giving a personal donation of $200,000 a year for a period of three years to support the activities of the DREAM program. The DREAM program was designed and launched in 2002 by the Community of Sant’Egidio, an international lay public association of the Catholic Church, based in Italy, to fight AIDS in Africa.

“I first heard about the Community of Sant’Egidio’s humanitarian work during my business travels,” said Bill Gates. “After learning more about the community’s DREAM project, I wanted to make a personal donation to further support and encourage this important work.” 

Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni, Narni and Amelia, Italy, and spiritual adviser to Sant’Egidio, said, “Learning of the donation Bill Gates has decided to make to DREAM, I want to first of all thank him from the bottom of my heart. We know of his keen concern for these problems and we hope that our joint efforts may contribute to saving Africa. It is our firm intention to continue the struggle against AIDS, helping African countries gather the necessary human resources needed to provide treatment to people living with AIDS. The patients themselves will be involved in this action as witnesses of hope for all the HIV-positive people we have not yet been able to reach.”

DREAM already is operating in Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya and implementation is underway in several other African nations. DREAM has reached out to some 20,000 HIV-positive people, offering them assistance and nutritional support free of charge. Mr. Gates’ contribution will help extend the program, enabling more people to receive treatment and tests, as well as strengthening the structures and basic activities (health education, social support, prevention and sensitization initiatives) that actively involve patients in DREAM.

DREAM has proven to be an effective instrument for improving African health care systems and is one of the most effective programs for preventing and treating HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Ninety-seven percent of the babies born to HIV-positive mothers in the program are born healthy and more than 90 percent of the adults live well and are able to start working again, supporting their entire family after beginning DREAM’s complete antiretroviral therapy.

After only four years, DREAM in Mozambique also has become an innovative program for training all the personnel (social workers, doctors, nurses, researchers and lab technicians) who are needed to create the highly professional infrastructure to treat HIV/AIDS in a resource-limited setting. Today DREAM is one of the few prevention and therapy programs that has been able to create the complex network of professionals needed to carry out HIV/AIDS therapy in Africa using local personnel.

The Community of Sant’Egidio: A brief overview

The Community of Sant’Egidio began in Rome in 1968, in the period following the Second Vatican Council by a group of young high school students, the Community of Sant’Egidio first established its presence in the poorest neighbourhoods of Rome. 
It is officially an


The DREAM project opens in Kenya: the new centre in St. Ursula’s Hospital in Materi – Tharaka District

On 1st December last the DREAM project to combat AIDS opened its activities in Kenya, making this the fifth African country where it has begun its work. The Community of Sant’Egidio’s programme of prevention and treatment has to its credit since January 2002 the treatment of approximately 20,000 persons and the births of almost 2,000 healthy babies.

The incidence of AIDS among the Kenyan population is estimated at around 7% (source UNAIDS). In contrast to other African countries, there is no lack of resources in the major Kenyan cities. In rural areas, however, there is a complete absence of facilities capable of opposing the forward march of the epidemic. And it is these areas that the new DREAM project centre is targeting, basing itself as it does in St. Ursula’s Hospital in Materi, district of Tharaka.

The hospital stands in a rural area, at about 300 km from Nairobi. It belongs to the Catholic diocese of Meru, and it is run in collaboration with the hospitals of Sant’Orsola of Bologna and Ferrara, who have together formed an NGO. Calling itself Ibo, the organisation has for years been sending medicines and Italian personnel to provide regular support. The hospital is a medium-sized, modern facility: the medical and surgery departments can accommodate 40 in-patients in the adult ward and 30 in the children’s ward.

The idea of opening a DREAM centre within the hospital originated in Italy. The number of AIDS sufferers was rising and the medical staff of the St Orsola Hospitals of Bologna and Ferrara who were working in Kenya wondered how they could confront the problem. A meeting with the management of the Community of Sant’Egidio project resulted in the idea of a joint venture, which first got underway a year and a half ago.

These eighteen months have been work-intensive, but necessary: for gathering the funding; making contacts with governmental authorities; obtaining all necessary authorisations; building the laboratory and the out-patient clinic; carrying through training courses for the staff.

The speciality of this new centre is its role as a hub of reference: the point from which dispensing and the monitoring of therapy emanate to a series of rural out-posts located out on the land: 7 “health points” in remoter villages radiate, in fact, out from it. Sufferers are usually unable to make their own way to the hospital; this is not only because of the hardships of the journey, but also due to economic constraints. The centre, therefore, acts as a day hospital only for those who are able to get there directly. For others a service of specially equipped vehicles has been prepared; these call at the health points at pre-set dates to carry out health visits, take of samples for patient tests and monitor ongoing therapy. Samples taken in the villages are transported to the lab for cd4 level analysis (the level of immune defence present in a HIV sufferer) which is an essential datum for establishing the appropriate treatment for each sufferer. In this way, a thoroughgoing “house-to-house” therapy is provided, bringing treatment if not into the home, then into the more outlying and inaccessible villages.

Inaugurazione del Centro DREAM presso il Sant'Orsola Hospital


Il VII corso panafricano di formazione del programma DREAM si è aperto a Matola alla presenza del presidente della Repubblica mozambicano


VII Corso Panafricano DREAM Comunità di Sant'EgidioIl 20 ottobre 2005 si é svolta a Matola la cerimonia di inaugurazione del VII corso panafricano di formazione del Programma DREAM. Il corso vede riuniti partecipanti di diverse professionalitá socio-sanitarie (medici, infermieri, biologi, farmacisti, tecnici di laboratorio, informatici, coordinatori, attivisti) provenienti da alcuni dei paesi africani in cui DREAM ha iniziato o sta per iniziare le sue attivitá: Mozambico, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Repubblica Democratica del Congo, Nigeria, Eritrea, Kenia, Rwanda. La cerimonia si é svolta alla presenza del Presidente della Repubblica del Mozambico, Emilio Armando Guebuza, e di numerosa autoritá tra le quali la vice-Ministra della Sanitá, Aida Libombo, ed il sindaco di Matola, Carlos Tembe.

VII Corso Panafricano DREAM Comunità di Sant'EgidioLa cerimonia si é aperta con il saluto di Paola Germano, coordinatrice del Programma DREAM, che ha ricordato il legame della Comunitá di Sant’Egidio con l’Africa, l’impegno nella lotta all’AIDS, la sfida che la formazione rappresenta per la replicazione del Programma DREAM in tanti Paesi.
Il Sindaco di Matola che aveva giá incontrato Sant’Egidio in occasione dell’apertura del centro nutrizionale, si é detto onorato di ospitare un tale evento nella sua cittá ringraziando anche per il lavoro svolto sul territorio in favore di tanti malati.
Sono poi intervenuti il Nunzio apostolico, Jorge Panikulam, la rappresentante dell’AFD (Agenzia Francese di Sviluppo) Fraçoise Desmazieres, la rappresentante del PAM, Il Presidente dell’Unione Generale delle Cooperative, il Presidente di Rensida (la rete nazionale delle associazioni di sieropositivi): tutti hanno avuto parole di apprezzamento per il lavoro di Sant’Egidioe hanno ricordato i legami di amicizia e di collaborazione che ci legano.
Ana Maria Muhai ha portato la testimonianza di Mulheres para o DREAM raccontando il prezioso lavoro svolto dalle attiviste accanto agli altri malati e la lotta per il diritto di tutti alle cure.

VII Corso Panafricano DREAM Comunità di Sant'EgidioIl Presidente della Repubblica, sottolineando come la pandemia di HIV/AIDS rappresenti oggi un grande ostacolo allo sviluppo dell’Africa, ha piú volte ringraziato la Comunitá per il suo lavoro per la pace e per la lotta all’AIDS.
Ha detto "la Comunitá di Sant’Egidio, che ha organizzato questo evento, ha voluto iniziare il suo programma di lotta all’HIV/AIDS, il programma DREAM, proprio in Mozambico. Il Programma DREAM non é solo il sogno di chi vuole aiutare. É anche l’attesa di chi ha bisogno di aiuto. La scelta del nostro Paese per l’inizio di questo programma é il frutto di una lunga, lunga, lunga amicizia che ci lega a questa Comunitá. É un’amicizia che é nata ed é cresciuta durante gli anni dei negoziati per la pace in Mozambico che si sono svolti nella capitale italiana, Roma. Quest’amicizia