A weeklong workshop took place in the Maputo DREAM center of the Community of Sant’Egidio with the participation of computer engineers working with the Dream Program in Tanzania, Malawi and various areas of Mozambique.
The workshop provided updates and thorough analyses of topics covering information and communication technologies, data protection and security and the use and improvement of software developed by the DREAM Program. The program in fact has been investing in ICT expertise since its beginnings to assist more than 350,000 patients already reached through the program located in the 11 Sub-Saharan countries.
The workshop aimed at improving technological support and problem solving without forgetting that people, not technologies, are the Program’s focus: not only how to build and maintain digital networks, but also an in-depth look at how to improve human networks and fully benefit from joint collaboration and efforts, taking advantage of the technological tools used in treating patients.
The conference “The DREAM Program in Africa. The Mozambican case: from peace agreements to the fight against HIV” took place on 18 January at the Clinica Moncucco in Lugano.
The clinic counts amongst its partners the FAI foundation (Fondation Assistance Internationale), which has been supporting the DREAM Program in Mozambique and has provided its continuous help and contribution for almost a decade.
Speakers at the conference included Dr. Noorjeahn Magid, Clinical Director of the program in Mozambique, Dr. Laura Zagrebelsky, Italy’s representative for the Global Fund and Dr. Guidotti, Secretary General of the DREAM Program.
The FAI President and Vice-president, Dr. Respini and Dr. Mancini, expressed their enormous enthusiasm and passion for the program. They looked back on the work and collaboration over the years and the huge success and strength which characterized them, making the program a key example of the FAI foundation itself.
Dr. Noorjeah recalled the fight, the challenges and successes through her own story, arousing deep emotions and sympathy for both Mozambique and DREAM.
Dr. Zagrebelsky cited the program as being a true model of success and effectiveness for the Global Fund. She highlighted how this great collaboration helped spread the program throughout Mozambique, reaching many sick, which in turn contributed to a 40% increase of people receiving treatment.
The audience was moved by the touching images from the program and the voices of the activists, heard in a video, who received great admiration.
Towards the end of the conference a new agreement was signed which will allow DREAM to open a new center in Bangui, Central Africa.
The humane, scientific and spiritual adventure of the program continues with growing passion and new friends.
On 20 November a delegation of representatives of the cooperation between EU countries visited the multipurpose DREAM Center of the Community of Sant’Egidio in Beira, Mozambique. The representatives, who collaborate in common projects of development aid, decided to visit the DREAM program together as an example of best practice in the partnership between Europe and Africa.
They received a warm welcome and their visit covered every area of the center. This allowed them to esteem the quality of the molecular biology laboratory and its technical equipment and the degree of training of the lab technicians, health workers and the personnel in charge of social support. What caught the attention of the guests was the concern and dedication personnel demonstrated when interacting with the patients, and how priority is given to continuous therapy and assistance, also thanks to thorough research on the patients who miss their appointments to make sure they do not abandon the treatment.
In the past two years Mozambique has been on the front pages of newspapers around the world for a series of discoveries of natural gas in the northern part of the country made especially by ENI, the national Italian hydrocarbons Institute. The estimated reserves of natural gas are considerable and are of great interest for the export of LPG especially to the Far East.
In recent years there has been a growing number of Italians that for this reason came to work in Mozambique. On several occasions the representatives of DREAM in the country have met with the leaders of the ENI project. And the interest to visit and to know more about the work of DREAM has increased.
In fact, a few days ago a delegation led by ENI's Health Manager for East Africa, Abelardo Chacon, visited the Centro para a Criança of the DREAM program in Maputo. The delegation met the staff of the center, who explained the work that takes place not only in Maputo, but in the different provinces of Mozambique, especially with the aim of supporting the country for it to be cleared as soon as possible of the transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child. Many mothers have shown their healthy children and told about the happiness of a regenerated life for them and for the whole family. The delegation was also very impressed by the capillary organization of the Program and the professionalism of its staff.
The visit ended with a request to find out more about the other initiatives of the Community of Sant'Egidio in the country and to meet again soon.