Children in Africa are still the segment of the population that has less access to care.
Malnutrition, HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and lack of hygiene contribute significantly to infant mortality on the continent. The DREAM program has always considered the pediatric care a matter of extreme importance: it is an investment for the future of Africa.
The care of children born from mothers affected by HIV starts from birth. With early neonatal detection it is possible to know timely the positivity or negativity of the smallest and ensure early treatment of those infants who are infected.
The many healthy babies born from HIV positive mothers are assisted for the first two years of their lives to protect their health. In fact DREAM offers to every child an articulated agenda of visits with trained personnel in pediatric HIV care.
Despite pharmacological and social interventions, the established dangerous circle of malnutrition and infection is a constant threat. Food shortages in malnourished children represent an important factor in infant mortality.
The [tipso tip=”In the treatment centers nutritional education classes, especially addressed to mothers, are carried out regularly. They are taught to prepare the meals for their children, especially during weaning, where the risk of malnutrition is higher. They are real cooking schools in which women learn to use common food and nutrients for children. In addition, a mosquito net and water filter is delivered to every mother, to protect her children and ensure safe water”]Nutritional Education[/tipso] given in the centers to the mothers solve part of these problems. Moreover, their children also receive a [tipso tip=”Since its establishment, the program has considered as crucial the nutritional support for patients under treatment as part of the preventive and therapeutic path. In fact therapy and adherence would hardly work in severely malnourished patients. Food parcels (containing oil, flour, sugar, etc…) are given to patients in care and particularly to pregnant women and their children.”]nutritional support[/tipso]. For children with severe deficiencies special fortified food is supplied. The fight against child malnutrition is also carried out through the management of special nutritional centers implemented in those areas particularly affected by this problem. These [tipso tip=”DREAM has opened three nutritional centers of which two are in Mozambique (in Maputo and in Beira) and one in Malawi (in Blantyre) where everyday about 2500 children receive a meal. Each child receives a meal enriched with quality proteins consisting of fish, chicken or eggs. Children are guaranteed macro and micronutrients to provide caloric intake for their growth. The planning of menus, under the control of experts in the sector, was made on the basis of nutritional needs and the availability of food in the local market, paying attention also to the different seasons of the year. Every day, from Monday to Friday, the menu is different and it also includes seasonal fruit and vegetables. A literacy course for street children, who are either too old to enroll in primary school or too young to enroll in evening classes, is also carried out in the premises of the center. Children have therefore access to basic education and are later trained as craftsmen. All children belonging to the center are officially registered: from invisible and therefore vulnerable, they acquire rights and become responsible citizens of the country they live in”]nutritional centers[/tipso] have been designed not only as canteens, where children receive a full meal a day, as well as day care centers with educational activities, entertainment and family support.