|On 7 June last, an agreement of collaboration was signed between DREAM and the Public Health Ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This document confers upon the services of DREAM on Congolese territory, the status of a pilot programme of excellence for the diagnosis and treatment of AIDS.
This is a significant step ahead for the presence of DREAM in a country where the outcomes of civil war, which ended barely five years ago, are still keenly felt. DREAM wants to establish itself as a support for intervention carried out by the state, and as a potential model for the development of an effective national system to counter AIDS.
|The DREAM team was given a warm welcome everywhere, in Kinshasa and in the hinterland. The Public Health Minister, Dr Victor Makwenge Kaput, expressed particular appreciation for the determination of DREAM and its desire to be rooted in the Congolese reality, without posing time limits, not least through a strategy of collaboration with religious congregations and associations present on the territory.|
|Upcoming steps include plans to open molecular biology laboratories and treatment centres, to offer a free service complete with excellent diagnostic and therapeutic protocols, devoting special attention to the prevention of mother-child infection. Further, the existence of laboratories capable of meeting the necessity to monitor treatment, is very precious in a country with extremely vast and remote territories, where such institutions are totally absent.|
|DREAM, moreover, will start in Mbandaka in Equator Province, in partnership with the Daughters of Charity. In Mbandaka, the centre and laboratory have been completed and provision is being made for the final furnishings and facilities, gems of excellence in healthcare for an environment that is equally magnificent but tough. The official opening is scheduled to take place in the coming months.|
|And the capital has not been forgotten. In the meantime, in Kinshasa, thanks to collaboration with the Congolese Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, the DREAM team is laying the groundwork for the construction of a centre equipped with a large molecular biology laboratory. This will be to the considerable advantage of the population of the large megalopolis stretched along the Congo River (with more than seven million residents), as well as people from the western provinces of the country.
The enthusiasm for the presence of DREAM has caught on among the population too. In Mbandaka, for example, people have started to build residences all around the future centre, in an area which until a short while ago was densely forested. Wherever DREAM is born, something new and exceptional emerges for all.