In parallel with World Sickle Cell Day, the Fondation Pierre Fabre announces the first training platform dedicated to sickle cell disease, “E-Drépanocytose” (“E-Sickle Cell Disease”). The programme is designed to help healthcare professionals recognise symptoms of, and screen for, this disease and provide regular monitoring of sickle cell patients. Through a network of partners in the field, the platform is being implemented in healthcare centres in French-speaking African countries.
E-Drépanocytose is the first online training platform on sickle cell disease and is accessible at no cost to all healthcare professionals in French-speaking Africa. It was created by the Fondation Pierre Fabre and the European Institute for Cooperation and Development as part of a joint skills-building programme. Other project partners include the Principality of Monaco’s International Department of Cooperation, the World Francophone Digital University, RAFT (Réseau en Afrique Francophone pour la Télémédecine) and the Agence Française de Développement.
Despite the disease’s substantial presence and particularly high infant mortality rate in sub-Saharan Africa, there is insufficient testing and treatment for sickle cell disease (see our work in Africa to combat sickle cell disease). This makes training healthcare personnel of vital importance in fighting this genetic disease, as the number of sickle-cell cases will increase at the same pace as population growth in Africa.
AN E-LEARNING PLATFORM OPEN TO EVERYONE
The purpose of E-Drépanocytose is to disseminate quality content to the broadest possible audience, helping physicians and healthcare workers recognise the disease and take action as early and as effectively as possible. “E-Drépanocytose does not replace a university degree curriculum, but does provide a tool that healthcare authorities in African countries can use as part of their early or continuing training for healthcare personnel,” explains Béatrice Garrette, Executive Director of the Fondation Pierre Fabre.
A PANEL OF INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS
The platform features presentations by experts from countries in the Global North and South and offers online courses combined with live broadcasts that can be experienced collectively as an interactive “webinar.” These courses are developed in collaboration with a group of experts who also approve the contents, all coordinated by Professor Jacques Elion, professor and researcher at the Paris Diderot University Faculty of Medicine, and Professor Ibrahima Diagne, specialist in paediatric haematology and Director of the Centre for Sickle Cell Disease Research and Outpatient Treatment (CERPAD) in Senegal.
E-Drépanocytose offers two levels of training:
- Level 1 entails basic training, helping professionals in primary health centres to recognise the disease and refer patients to referral facilities;
- Level 2 entails patient monitoring and treatment (excluding complications).
The team of instructors includes:
Ibrahima Diagne, paediatrician, paediatric haematology specialist, full professor of paediatrics and research professor at Gaston Berger University (UGB) in Saint-Louis, Senegal, where he directs the Centre for Sickle Cell Disease Research and Outpatient Treatment (CERPAD).
Abdoul Karim Dembélé, physician, specialist in clinical haematology, hospital practitioner at the Research Centre to Combat Sickle Cell Disease (CRLD) in Bamako, Mali.
Saliou Diop, full professor of clinical haematology, Head of the Haematology Department of the Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Odontology of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar (Senegal).
Robert Girot, professor of haematology; he directed the Sickle Cell Disease Centre at Paris’s Hôpital des Enfants Malades from 1975 to 1993 before serving as head of the Sickle Cell Centre at Hôpital Tenon in Paris from 1994 to 2014.
To access the online training: E-Drépanocytose is available to all healthcare professionals. They need only register, at no cost, on the E-Drépanocytose platform : https://e-drepanocytose.org/
A committed partnership in fighting sickle cell disease
For many years, the European Institute for Cooperation and Development and the Fondation Pierre Fabre have been working together to support a number of screening and treatment programmes for sickle cell disease, revealing genuine training needs on the part of the nursing staff, sometimes located in hard-to-access areas. The Agence Française de Développement and the Principality of Monaco’s Department of International Cooperation also contribute substantially to combating sickle cell disease by supporting various partners in the field.