Combating Sickle cell disease: Interview with Éléonore Kafando

Éléonore Kafando, biologiste et professeur d’hématologie

Pr. Éléonore KAFANDO

Medical biologist and professor of haematology at the Health Sciences UFR (training and research unit) at Joseph Ki Zerbo University in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

GOOD TO KNOW

The impact of early screening

While sickle cell disease remains a major cause of infant mortality, early treatment can significantly alleviate symptoms. This means that neonatal screening (before the age of six months) is a key factor in reducing the infant mortality rate associated with the disease.
In Mali, the DREPATEST III study, conducted on 4,000 new-borns, compares the performance of two rapid-screening tests and assesses the feasibility of systematic new-born screening.

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Annual report (Interactive | Pdf) >>

On the occasion of the release of its annual report, The Pierre Fabre Foundation is publishing a series of interviews with the partners who support it in carrying out local actions.

The fight against sickle cell disease is gaining structure and momentum.

You’ve been working with the Fondation Pierre Fabre since 2015: in what ways has this collaboration evolved?

The Foundation has invested in several key areas: early screening, improving healthcare quality, raising public awareness and strengthening physician skills. In 2020, this partnership was formalised by the signing of a three-year framework agreement between the Fondation Pierre Fabre, the Burkina Faso
Ministry of Health and associations fighting sickle cell disease. We will be jointly implementing the DREPAFASO project in an effort to develop a national policy to fight sickle cell disease.

How will this specifically benefit sickle cell patients?

The project encompasses improving diagnostic processes through systematic screening of pregnant women and new-borns, broadening access to healthcare, training caregivers, generating greater involvement by civil society and establishing clear mapping of the incidence of sickle cell disease in the country. Taken together, all these actions will help improve patient care and quality of life.

Do you already see changes in the field with respect to recognition of the disease?

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted our work in 2020, but the results of our actions are nevertheless positive thus far. With major advances: a better framework for dialogue and experience-sharing, improved networking for referring physicians, a process to improve consistency in medical practices and increased involvement on the part of the Burkinabe authorities.
There’s no doubt that the fight against sickle cell disease is gaining structure and momentum. And the Foundation is playing an essential role.

Other interviews

After I got my Master’s degree in quality assurance, I wanted to focus on public health to explore the issues of medication quality and accessibility in Southeast Asia. I couldn’t have done it without the Foundation’s support.

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C’est une chance d’acquérir une expertise que je partage avec les étudiants togolais.

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