Matola, a neighbor city to Maputo, due to its fast and large expansion is considered to be the second largest city in Mozambique. Although it is densely populated, it does not have the infrastructure and services of the capital city and daily life in its neighborhoods is a reminiscence of rural life. In this context the stigma against HIV positive people is still very strong, even though they also represent such a present and intersecting reality.
At the Health Center of Matola 2, with a maternity unit, a new cooperation between DREAM and the Mozambican Ministry of Health (MISAU) began in October 2011. In fact, following the agreement of July 14 2011, Matola 2 is shaping up as the first DREAM-MISAU integrated center, for the implementation of the protocol for vertical prevention, started in 2002 in the DREAM centers and which in future will be extended to all maternity units in the country. This is why Matola 2 will become a model for all the other Mozambican maternity units.
Matola 2 has been in the heart of DREAM from its first steps: it is since 2002 that we came close to the people of this area, who are at the gates of the big city and yet so isolated and lacking all services, rebuilding the health center and beginning, in 2003, the vertical prevention protocol which allowed the birth of the first healthy babies born from HIV positive mothers. And since then, from the first healthy baby named Celeste, in Matola 2 numerous others were born.
Today in Mozambique all pregnant women should be tested for HIV, so every day at Matola 2, dozens of women line up to take the test. Positive women are immediately greeted by the nurses and encouraged to follow treatment in order to give birth to a healthy child.
The nurses at the Health Center and those of DREAM work side by side, sharing space and tools, to meet a need that is growing fast. It is a valuable cooperation since it determines the future of an entire generation. This is not only about transmitting knowledge or to support themselves in the daily work…the real news is that it attracts the antique and yet ever new secret of DREAM: the personal relationship in which the patient is always at the center.
From October to date, 600 women have entered the vertical prevention program and 130 have already given birth. In addition there are almost 300 children, aged 2 to 15 years, already HIV positive, who need not only appropriate care but also a special attention: many of them are orphans, accompanied by their grandmothers.
There is great expectation in Matola 2: the expectation of a reborn life, as evidenced by the activists of DREAM, the expectation of a future freed from the disease for many children, the expectation of many health professionals who, thanks to the example given by DREAM, will finally have the real opportunity to change their country.