What happens after the emergency aid has run out and the world's interest has moved on? In March 2019, Mozambique was devasated by Cyclone Idai. Especially hard hit was the fourth largest city, Beira. Although the Beira DREAM center in the city was damaged, it was still acting as a shelter for hundreds of people.
The Rotary Club Zurich International selected DREAM (Disease Relief through Excellent and Advanced Means) centers in Beira as their flagship international community project, primarily aimed to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child (incl. medical care and nutrition). This is part of a program of the Community of Sant'Egidio, committed to service to the poor without any discrimination, advocating passionately that everyone deserves the best care. It is among global leaders in fighting HIV/AIDS, and runs programs across Africa.
With the proceeds from their annual charity run, RC Zurich International was able to benefit from a district grant of CHF 10k to double the positive impact for the community. The total funding provided to DREAM Beira came to approximately CHF 24k. During the COVID-19 outbreak, this was instrumental especially to better manage medical tests and visits, prevention and treatment of HIV-related opportunistic infections, as well as nutritional support. The telemedicine service which is a very important pillar of DREAM, has been quickly boosted up to support local experts with the latest knowledge. In fact, the scientific committee has defined specific guidelines to deal with the new epidemic, starting from the lessons learned during the Ebola epidemic in Guinea Conakry. DREAM provided its diagnostic capabilities in biomolecular laboratories and its vast experience in epidemic disease control at the service of Beira.
The center is also supporting a vaccination campaign to fight the spread of cholera and providing relief to the community also during COVID-19: DREAM is distributing facemasks, running tests and a wide range of free healthcare support.
Dr. Giovanni Guidotti, General Secretary of DREAM Program said: “The support offered in that region that suffered from the Idai Cyclone and now from Covid-19 epidemic was really decisive and important. The double burden was too much. Your aid in this moment has therefore a double importance! It comes at the right moment.”