Degree Aims to Improve Childhood Cancer Treatment in Africa

degree in paediatricsParis Sud University reports on a collaborative partnership with a Moroccan university which has resulted in a degree in paediatric oncology, the first of its kind in Africa.

A partnership between the Faculty of Medicine University of Paris-Sud and the Mohammed V University in Rabat has led to the development of the first university degree in paediatric oncology in Morocco. This signals a breakthrough for better management of Childhood Cancer in Africa.

Advances in the treatment of childhood cancer in developed countries has led to healing in almost 75% of cases. These kind of results can only be obtained within specialist and multi-disciplinary structures. Skills development has quickly established itself as a key determinant for the long-term development of effective treatment of Childhood Cancer in Africa.

The training that was previously provided, while of great value, did not meet the demand. Indeed, with the growing demand in the number of patients treated, the need to extend support to additional cancer types and to implement a specific strategy for African skills development has become a necessity.

It should also be noted that paediatric oncology practice in Africa has its own specificities related to epidemiological profile, to a scarcity of resources and a socio-cultural context characterised by ancestral beliefs and the importance of traditional medicine. These specificities must be taken into account in the training programme.

The development of this degree should be of interest to not only paediatric oncologists but also to other stakeholders, including paediatric surgeons, pathologists, nurses and technicians.

The diploma in African Paediatric Oncology

lemerle-jean1In 2000, one of the fathers of Child Cancer in France, the late Professor Jean Lemerle of the Gustave Roussy Institute who was also one of the founders of the International Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), took the opportunity, with a group of volunteers, to develop a care package for Children with Cancer in African regions where this type of care was not available.

The Franco-African Paediatric Oncology Group (GFAOP) with its headquarters in the Gustave Roussy Institute was the result.

The Institut Gustave-Roussy is one of the world’s leading cancer-research institutes and the biggest health center dedicated to oncology in Europe together with the European Institute of Oncology in Milan.

This was to support children with cancer in Africa by Africans. It also set out to find the best compromise that modern medicine can offer and what the optimal treatment would be for these patients. Among the various activities of the Group, and with the support of the programme “My Child Matters” led by the Sanofi Espoir Foundation, the establishment of an inter-university diploma in paediatric oncology (DIUOP), offered by the Faculty of Medicine of Paris-Sud University and the Institute Gustave Roussy, has trained dozens of African practitioners, doctors and nurses.

Based on this proven model, the partners wanted to expand this training offer locally. The implementation of a programme in Morocco, led jointly by the Mohammed V University in Rabat and Paris-Sud University, has helped set up the first degree of its kind in Africa. The combination of a French university and a Moroccan university with a mix of faculty to carry out the project, gives this programme both richness and depth.

Enthusiastic interest was shown for this training at the launch for the 2014-2015 academic year. Twenty-six students from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa have been enrolled and have been diligent in attending training. In recent years, Francophone Africa has poured significant capital and expertise into paediatric oncology.




About LFCT

This is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 17 March, 2016, in Blog, News & Events and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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