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