A new DREAM center has opened in Kapeni, a fringe area approximately 30 kilometers from Blantyre.
The center of Kapeni is active since 2007 and started as a multifunctional center that brings together, in the same place, the presence and activities of the four partners of the Malawi Project: CISP, Save the Children, Scout and the Community of Sant’Egidio with the DREAM Program.
In a first stage the commitment of the staff of the center was to establish contact with the surrounding reality and understand the needs in that area.
Initiatives dedicated to health education, meeting the sick people, reaching the mutual understanding with the Traditional Authorities and the responsible administrative staff of the villages, were continuously pursued.
DREAM has then set up, within some of the rooms of the center, a VCT to carry out HIV testing and counseling. After that, the people found to be HIV positive were addressed to the DREAM center in Blantyre for treatment, but the use of public transportation in Malawi is not easy and most importantly it is very expensive.
The cost to reach the city, and therefore the DREAM center, from Kapeni is of approximately US$3 and, for Malawians who live with an estimated daily income of one US$, it is not cheap at all.
Despite this practical difficulty, the number of people coming from this area that have turned to DREAM has continued to grow significantly, thanks to the painstaking work of the staff of Kapeni, word of mouth among the people and the confidence in the successfulness of the treatment witnessed by the first patients who entered the Program.
Thus, the will and determination of the patients to be treated and the commitment of the DREAM staff to reach everyone, especially those who are far away and in trouble, have opened new opportunities for the people of that area.
Gradually some services have been decentralized, in order to make the need for the patients to undertake expensive travelling into the city less frequent; for example, once a week a nurse would go to Kapeni in order to collect blood samples.
Progressively other health services were made available locally and, today at the Kapeni center a DREAM center which works at full capacity has been activated, allowing patients to receive everything offered by the Program: tests and medication, counseling, new admissions, medical visits, collection of blood samples, distribution of medicines, nutritional supplement and, where needed, the home care carried out by the activists of the area.
From today, patients from Kapeni no longer have to take long trips in order to get treatment and they begin to hope for a better future.
At the same time, at the same place, they may benefit from the different activities of the Malawi Project.