A training course of the DREAM program was held in Rome in the beginning of December and it was attended by the leaders of the DREAM centers of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and representatives of their social health staff, from six African countries: Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania. The course, which took place in the halls of San Gallicano, the headquarters of the Program, was also attended by a delegation of nuns from the Mother House in Paris on Rue Dubac, and by Father Robert Maloney who was for many years the General Superior of the Vincentian Fathers and administrator of the “Cooperation Agreement on the DREAM Program” signed in 2005 in Paris, between the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Vincentian Sisters.
The course had its milestone precisely in the communion between the Community of Sant'Egidio and the Vincentian Family. A communion in the sign of the covenant for the poorest and among those the many AIDS patients in Africa. At the opening of the course, Andrea Riccardi welcomed the delegations from the different countries and underlined how the continent needs alliances in the name of the deprived, to bring peace and hope in a continent where the poor, and among them the patients suffering from AIDS, pay the hard price of the culture of waste and the globalization of indifference. The collaboration between the Vincentians and Sant'Egidio starting from the sick people is, in fact, an important paradigm. A way of being a community together, starting from the poor. A way to bring together our hands, skills, spirituality, humanity, without confusion and without division. In this sense, a paradigm that is fulfilled beginning from the poor, conveying the gift of life.
The course addressed the many challenges for the future of the treatment of the African patients affected by HIV / AIDS. Better protocols for a more effective prevention of the transmission of the disease from mother to child, the need to retain more and more patients in order for them to do well in the treatment against HIV and against Tuberculosis, a disease that is more and more common in Africa with, too often, fatal outcomes.
During the course topics regarding the organization of care centers and laboratories, the use of telemedicine, the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as practical aspects, such as the use of solar energy systems in the centers located in rural areas or the use of computer programs for the management of the sick were examined, to allow a better follow up of the patients.
During the course, there were also visits to some services of the Community of Sant'Egidio in nearby places: the soup kitchen, the house for the sick, the home of the elderly, and the art exhibition of Friends.
The closing stages of the course were presented by the General Superior of the Daughters of Charity, Sister Evelyne Franc from Paris who, in addition to thanking the Community of Sant'Egidio for the generous cooperation with the sisters in different countries, has focused on two fundamental principles: the need to respect the sick by providing the best for them along with a continuing professional commitment which finds its own gratification precisely in working in favor of the poor.