Care and training are the main challenges of the DREAM program of the Community of Sant'Egidio in the Republic of Guinea.
On Saturday March 15th, in Conakry, Guinea, the certificates to the first group of health workers trained in a series of courses assigned to the DREAM program was delivered by the CNLS (Comité National de Lutte au SIDA). More than 150 doctors, laboratory technicians, nurses and health agents will participate in the month of March in various training courses organized with the funds that the Guinean government has received from the Global Fund. Dr. Remi Lamah, Minister of Health of the Republic of Guinea, the Executive Secretary of CNLS, as well as the European Ambassadors and representatives of organizations working in the country attended the ceremony. The minister expressed respect and affection for the DREAM program and its excellent results in the country, and appreciation for the first session of training of health workers, held from March 10th to 15th.
Although rates of HIV infection are lower in Guinea than in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, it suffers however from a generalized epidemic; but the services in the area are not yet adequate to cope with the infection. Many areas of the country are not covered by antiretroviral therapy and there are many deficiencies also from the diagnostic point of view. DREAM is present in Conakry since 2006 and has treated more than 3.000 patients; in addition to the center in the capital, DREAM has taken treatment and advanced diagnostics also to the peripheral areas of Fassia and Dubreka. Currently DREAM is an important point of reference with regard to the fight against HIV in the country, and desires to extend more and more the cooperation with all relevant national and international actors.
The course has addressed the issues of advanced diagnostic laboratory in HIV infection, prevention of mother to child transmission, the specific problems of the treatment of pediatric patients and patients with co-infection with tuberculosis.
The participants, coming from all provinces of the country, have expressed various issues related to the limited availability of medicines and diagnostic tools and inadequate infrastructure. But the course was also an injection of hope: those who work in health centers far from the capital and sometimes deprived of contacts and tools are now prepared for a not too distant future where they will be able to care for a greater number of patients and apply the best treatment protocols and diagnostic existing in Conakry.
For this reason, the closing ceremony of the first course also had the tone of a celebration and the participants received diplomas from more hands (minister, ambassadors, NGOs and friends of Guinea), to illustrate how the battle against AIDS can only be won with a large synergy and coordination of interventions.
The training is the first challenge: DREAM is helping the country to pick it up.