The official inauguration of the rural hospital “Mulibwanji” at Masuku in the Mangochi district where, in collaboration with the Monfortani fathers, a DREAM centre has been in operation for about two years, was held on December 5th, 2009.
Apart from the local dignitaries and numerous local Malawi citizens who use the hospital services, the Health Minister of Malawi, Prof. Moses Chirambo, and the Bishop of Zomba, Thomas Nzusa, were also present at the ceremony.
The inauguration provided the opportunity for a first encounter between the Health Minister who was nominated after the elections of last May and several representatives of the DREAM staff. During the meeting, at which the hospital personnel were also present, they were able to present the work of the DREAM programme in Malawi and in particular their collaboration with the missionary hospital “Mulibwanji”.
Later, the Minister spoke in more detail with a smaller group of the DREAM staff about the programme’s diagnostic sector, the lab monitoring of the HIV infection, the vertical prevention programme and about DREAM’s collaboration with the institutional authorities involved in the battle against AIDS in Malawi. The Minister dwelt in particular upon the excellent results of the vertical prevention programme (98% of healthy babies born by sieropositive mothers) and the possibility to replicate the laboratory programme in rural areas.
The Minister expressed appreciation for the work carried out by DREAM and for their collaboration with both the Malawi services and the missionaries.
Interest was also aroused by the richly illustrated book “How is your health?”, published in English and Chichewa and used on a daily basis in all the DREAM centres during the health education lessons given by the activists.
Prof. Chirambo left expressing the hope that it will be possible to improve the assistance given to patients living in rural areas by establishing a laboratory at “Mulibwanji” hospital too, at the moment the blood samples are taken once a week to Blantyre.