The Italian non-governmental organisation Community of Sant Egidio has opened a centre for children infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in Maputo as part of its DREAM (Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS and Malnutrition) programme in Mozambique. Besides monitoring children infected with HIV and administering life-prolonging anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment, the centre will also run a programme for HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent the transmission of the virus from mother to child.
The community has also opened a nutritional centre called Rainbow Village in the city of Matola just outside Maputo for over 700 children with HIV or whose parents have died of AIDS. The young attendees at the centre are given regular health checks and instruction in basic personal hygiene.
According to Sant Egidio, 8,000 Mozambicans are now receiving ARV therapy through DREAM about a third of all those receiving treatment in the country while 2,620 HIV-positive pregnant women have gone through the programme of preventing mother-to-child transmission. Roughly 1.4 million Mozambicans are living with HIV out of a total population of nearly 20 million. Of the infected population, an estimated 300,000 people need ARV therapy, of whom around 52,000 are under the age of 15.