The first course on HIV resistances, aimed at training personnel of DREAM laboratories to identify possible drug resistances, was held at the headquarters of the Siemens molecular diagnostics division in Paris from 10 to 15 March. This course represents a vitally important step in the formation of people working in laboratories of the DREAM programme, because testing for resistances, notwithstanding the excellent adherence to therapy, has now become a necessity in countries where, starting with Mozambique and Malawi, patients have been in treatment for several years.
Meanwhile, in Blantyre (Malawi), the laboratory is increasingly meeting the formation needs of the region: some Kenyan technicians have gone to the Blantyre laboratory for a placement, which allowed them to become perfectly able to conduct tests used in DREAM laboratories. This placement took place in view of the opening of a DREAM laboratory in Nairobi. Also in Blantyre, the formation of some Malawian technicians is under way: they will be responsible for the new laboratory of Balaka, which has been equipped to respond to the ever more numerous requests of the centre itself and of surrounding areas.
In the last week of April, with a good party organized by the Department of Microbiology of the University of Padova and the conferral of the official certificate of attendance, a laboratory technician from the Hospital of Guinea Bissau, microbiology section, completed a placement in practical and theoretical formation. Adao spent two months at the laboratory of Padova, learning Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture techniques, and the testing for resistances with antibiograms. These are important methodologies, because they enable one to deal with the problem of multi-resistant tuberculosis, which is ever more widespread in Africa, not least due to AIDS. The affection for Africa and the availability of the personnel of Padova were clearly in evidence and the head of the laboratory gave Adao an instrument for the reading of antibiograms.
The DREAM laboratory in Guinea has also become a reference point for people working in DREAM laboratories across francophone Africa: after a three-month placement, which was recognized by the Guinean Ministry of Health, two laboratory workers from Cameroon returned to Dschang, which is currently getting ready to open a new laboratory to serve the local DREAM centre. The person in charge in Guinea, Armel Mamy, is currently in Cameroon to support the start-up. In the meantime, two Congolese technicians are in Conakry for a period of formation, while the Ministry of Health and the National Hospital continue to send Guinean technicians for brief placements aimed at training in some particular techniques, for example CD4 counts, or in the general management of this type of laboratory.