In our time the concept of Global Health is more and more recognized.
We live in a globalized and interdependent world, where the intensity of migrations, commerce and communications between people and countries is constantly growing. Unfortunately access to treatment for many african populations is still out of reach. It is for this reason that the strengthening of the individual sanitary systems represents today a priority subject in the agenda for development of the poorer countries and is agreed upon by the United Nations to be one of the Millennium Goals (MDG) for the near future.
DREAM’s work in these past years has shown how investments in the treatment of AIDS have had an enormous, very positive impact on the sanitary systems, contributing to a change in the national Guide Lines and suggesting, starting from the best therapeutic-diagnostic protocols of the rich world, an african organization model, completely new and reusable on other diseases, for the management of the treatment. Today, thanks to treatment, HIV patients achieve a good quality of life and, as everyone else, get sick from other diseases. The newly found life for many sick lay out new questions that we cannot avoid.
The DREAM Program of the Community of Sant’Egidio commits to gathering with renewed enthusiasm the challenge of global health also for Africa, representing a model contrasting not only [tipso tip=”It is necessary to increase the interventions to reach all mothers and children with more effective drugs and with services for the prevention of the mother-child infection, so as to guarantee them health and well-being and provide a future for their countries. Today, only 37% of the people afflicted by HIV have access to the therapy. Our frontier to win the battle against AIDS is the Access to Universal Treatment, that is to say treating all those afflicted by AIDS in order to eradicate the disease from entire populations and from the continent itself”]HIV/AIDS[/tipso] and malnutrition, for whom the Access to Universal Treatment is still the most important frontier, but also for other infective diseases and many more chronic diseases.
It has been a while now that attention is being given to the main diseases africans find themselves confronting with: [tipso tip=”in Africa we record the highest incidence and mortality rates in the world, particularly in people afflicted by HIV/AIDS. Already today, DREAM achieves a systematic screening of all of patients to promptly identify the suspected case and makes available latest generation systems, which perform a precocious and accurate diagnose, able to also identify the drug-resistant cases”]tuberculosis[/tipso], [tipso tip=”regarding preventive care and treatment of malaria, DREAM abides to the international guide lines, but at the same time carries out a continuous sanitary education for pregnant women, followed by the offer of mosquito nets for nocturnal protection, for them and the future baby”]malaria[/tipso], [tipso tip=”malaria generates severe anemias, which cause 50% of deaths, especially in children. Precocious diagnose of malaria in the dream centers allows an effective treatment that, linked to the nutritional support, allows to save many lives”]anemias[/tipso], [tipso tip=”Sub-Saharan Africa presents the highest prevalence of Hepatitis B and a high percentage of people with chronic infection of the hepatitis C virus. Most people don’t know their own infection status and therefore constitute a potential risk of transmission of the disease. DREAM has already operated for a long time preventive strategies to contrast new infections from HBV and HCV with an accurate screening for the precocious diagnosis in HIV patients and control of the evolution of the infection”]hepatitis[/tipso], some types of [tipso tip=”70% of tumor deaths in the world occur in Africa. More than 60% of africans don’t have access to prevention programs and screenings and oncological patients don’t have access to chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. It is many years now that DREAM has undertaken a prevention and treatment program for the HPV in HIV-positive women, with access to periodic gynecological appointments, pap-test, colposcopies, conizations and where necessary, surgical treatment.”]cancer[/tipso] and still the diseases tied to the grown life expectancy of africans and also of those afflicted by HIV who are under treatment. [tipso tip=”in low-income countries the cerebral stroke and the ischemic heart disease represent the fourth and fifth cause of death, the first and second if we only consider the chronic diseases. The arterial pressure is routinely measured at every access to the DREAM center. The diagnosis of arterial hypertension allows us to give advice to the patient regarding his lifestyle and diet, achieving this way secondary prevention practices for the previously indicated cardio-vascular diseases. If necessary, an anti-hypertensive therapy is set up, possibly verified with a cardiological consultancy, often available in loco through electrocardiogram and the telemedicine service”]Cardiovascular diseases[/tipso], arterial hypertension, metabolic diseases including [tipso tip=”the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in low and medium income countries is increasing, but the attention given to such disease by the african systems is still very low. In the DREAM centers the glycemic levels are periodically measured giving the doctor information regarding the presence of diabetes mellitus, therefore addressing the patient to the pharmacological therapy, appropriate eating behavior and physical activity”]diabetes mellitus[/tipso]. Without forgetting new pandemics, such as [tipso tip=”the ebola virus has caused the death of nearly 12 thousand people in West Africa and has infected nearly 27 thousand. In Guinea Conakry, in the three DREAM Program centers, a widespread action of monitoring and screening of the population under treatment has been taken. At the same time an important sanitary education and awareness campaign was launched regarding the methods of transmission and prevention of the virus. The United Nations have included DREAM in the epidemiological surveillance web for Ebola in the country”]Ebola[/tipso].
To emphasize this expansion, which has occured throughout these years, we have bounded ourselves to a wider meaning of the acronym D.R.E.A.M.
Not only “Drug Resource Enhancement Against AIDS and Malnutrition” but also “Disease Relief through Excellent and Advanced Means”. Our dream grows.
This DREAM, which we can identify as DREAM 2.0, faces a new challenge. The long experience of these years, the model produced and the hard-working and concrete support of many european and african professionals have allowed us to complete such a jump.
Looking towards the future, it is clear how today we can find conditions at a global level that can facilitate the outbreak of new pandemics. To contrast all this, it is necessary to build interconnected systems, eco-friendly and equo-friendly that are not considered a “luxury” from the Northern part of the world, but an urgent necessity for the whole world. Briefly, what we need is a globalization of solidarity, as Pope Francis often reminds us.
DREAM 2.0 prepares for all this. It is a big challenge: tight circumstances, mostly economic, would lead to believe that it is impossible. However it is possible, if we have the audacity to listen together to reason and the heart. We don’t need a frightened and impotent gaze, but an intelligent and caring approach that can change and deliver from disease the life of many africans.
DREAM does not abandon Africa, but matures an even more ambitious dream, and keeps going!