At the end of April, a DREAM delegation went to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, to visit a centre which was opened there in 2006.
The DREAM centre is situated in Kubwa, one of Abuja’s satellite cities, which is a densely populated agglomerate with around one million residents.
The centre emerged in the context of collaboration between the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity, to fight AIDS in Africa.
Nigeria is not one of the countries with the highest HIV prevalence rates (UNAIDS estimates the rate to be around 3.9%) however, the size of its complex population means that the number of people living with HIV is extremely high.
To respond to this problem, the Vincentians are looking to expand the DREAM programme to other places, and by the end of the year, a new centre is scheduled to open in Iwaro Oka, south-west of Abuja.
The DREAM centre of Kubwa is attached to a hospital run by the Daughters of Charity and it is currently looking after more than 1000 people, both adults and children.
A programme of vertical prevention is also operational, with around 200 women following therapy and 100 children born healthy to HIV-positive mothers. The staff, 20 members in all, have been formed in DREAM courses in Maputo and Blantyre.
There are the first activists too, who have started to offer the service of home care.
Throughout the visit to Kubwa, concrete problems linked to the services of the centre (clinical services, organising the workload, use of software, the functioning of the laboratory) were tackled, with the aim of supporting the development of the centre and its efforts to offer the best possible care to people with HIV.
The centre of Kubwa represents the fruit of collaboration on the ground between the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Daughters of Charity and as such, it is a model for other, already operational centres (in Mozambique) or centres on the way to being set up (in Kenya, Cameroon, and Democratic Republic of Congo).
Collaboration with different bodies is fast becoming a strong point in making DREAM accessible to as many people with HIV as possible in sub-Saharan Africa.