|The opening ceremony of the Dzoole DREAM centre, the fourth in the country, took place on the 20th of July, coinciding with the Malawi National HIV test week.
There was great anticipation of the event in the village DREAM had found out about the situation in Dzoole a little over a year ago. Some patients in treatment at the Mthegno wa Ntenga (Lilongwe) DREAM centre, who came from a rural area, had talked about the difficulties they had to face to get to the centre: about 20 km, sometimes more, to cover on foot or by bicycle.
Some of them, even though they were very sick, walked for about two days, stopping to sleep on the road, so they wouldn’t miss the appointment for their drugs.
|Malawi is a predominantly rural country and around 80% of the population lives in villages. Access to treatment for the many sick people who live far away from the main urban areas is an enormous challenge.
During this last year there have therefore been many meetings between the DREAM staff and the head of the village, the people of this area, the district health officers and the health centre committee, in order to find solutions together.
|In October 2006, the DREAM staff started going to Dzoole once a week, and they were given two small rooms in the health centre to do the test and guarantee the treatment with the antiretroviral therapy. The demand grew quickly and the small rooms used for the service became absolutely insufficient.
Thus the proposal from the head of the village to provide some land and bricks, made by the people living there themselves, in order to build a DREAM centre there.
|Thanks to the collaboration of the whole village the possibility of creating a permanent and stable building to cure AIDS became a reality. After receiving permission from the health managers and district politicians to proceed with the building work, at the end of March 2007 the work began. And a few weeks ago, finally, the finished building was handed over.
The opening ceremony was a big event for the village and for the whole surrounding area, which has a population of almost 30,000 people.
More than 500 people and 50 heads of villages from the area took part. Some members of the authorities were also present. They included all the members of the health centre committee, the district health officer and the parliamentary representative of the constituency.