The pandemic has disrupted healthcare systems around the world for a year and has also hit the ones that are weak or being built up. In Africa this health emergency is being addressed by DREAM with its usual objectives: high quality and equal access to healthcare.
The presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was confirmed in Africa on 14th February 2020.
The first cases were reported in Egypt and in sub-Saharan Africa, in Nigeria.
Over 4 million cases have been reported and more than 100,000 deaths have been confirmed throughout the continent, over half of which in sub-Saharan Africa.
The lack of healthcare services, trained personnel, resources and data, make it extremely difficult to control and monitor the transmission of the virus.
Right from the beginning, the Community of Sant’Egidio’s DREAM programme started screening and diagnostic tests for Covid-19 in its laboratories, together with the basic health services for people with HIV and other diseases.
The initial lack of materials and the new workload are difficulties that the Community of Sant’Egidio was able to overcome in a short period. It responded to the emergency quickly and effectively, everywhere it is present in 10 countries in Africa. The programme has drawn its strength from the experience it has acquired in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and Ebola.
In collaboration with the African governments, the DREAM centres have become reference points in the fight against the virus, and they are organised so they can screen and vaccinate patients every day. The DREAM centres are training healthcare workers and raising the awareness of the population in order to clear up the prejudices and fake news that have always hindered prevention and treatment, even in the fight against endemic diseases.
These are signs of solidarity, which come from the lessons learned in this period. Paola Germano, the director of the DREAM programme says, “Nobody can save themselves alone in the face of this epidemic, whether we like it or not. We have to take this into account and work together so that the right to health truly is a right for everyone, so that everyone can live better”.
DREAM has obtained important quality certifications, it continues its work in the belief that effective treatments can only be guaranteed with high levels of services and scientific standards. It aims to ensure access to its healthcare services to an increasingly large number of people. Equal access to tests and vaccines is a new challenge and it is in this context that DREAM is again launching its dream to improve the African healthcare systems.