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Rome Reports

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Catholic organization's success in battling against HIV and AIDS in Africa

Since 2002, the Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS and Malnutrition program has provided free healthcare to people in Africa. It was originally founded to help battle HIV and AIDS, through a holistic approach.

The programme was launched by the Sant'Egidio Catholic community. It is a religious group focused on fraternally assisting those living on the peripheries of society. They are based in more than 70 countries across the world.

So far it is estimated the DREAM Programme has been able to assist 3 million people through their various training courses, nutritional, health as well as social support.

According to the General Coordinator of DREAM programme, the importance in treating patients is not only just giving them medicine, but providing a family environment.

General Coordinator DREAM Programme
“There is a way of welcoming the sick like a family does. The center is created as a family. The relationship also with the paramedics is as a family. The sick person not only needs medicine, but be supported and live within a family.”

DREAM programme have laboratories in 11 countries within Africa. The antiretroviral treatment they provide has helped reduced HIV infection; and enabled people to reintegrate back into society. 

The project has been so successful that it has helped prevent HIV from passing on to parents' children. According to DREAM's 2017 report, now 99.9% children are born free from HIV positive mothers.

General Coordinator DREAM Programme
“In Africa, these children died because they were born sick. They were sick and they died within the first or second year of their life. So we began to apply this global, holistic support, as carried out in the West and from DREAM, to ensure children are born healthy. Now we have 150,000 children born in Africa no longer sick.”

Now with their DREAM 2.0 they aim to continue in fulfilling its goals in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health as well as combat other diseases such as Ebola. 

In September, Pope Francis will visit Africa. He will go to Mozambique. There he will visit a DREAM center in Maputo to support their efforts. It will be his fourth trip to the continent and it will help draw attention to those often forgotten.