Côte d’Ivoire – Reducing treatment dropout in lymphoma patients
The Fondation Pierre Fabre supports the Amafrica study conducted by the Yopougon teaching hospital in Abidjan.
The study’s purpose is to measure the impact of telephone follow-up on treatment adherence in lymphoma patients.
A 60% treatment-dropout rate and a five-year survival rate of only 20%, all cancers combined: these are the statistics available on lymphoma patients in Côte d’Ivoire. These figures speak for themselves, indicating the urgent need for solutions to reduce the treatment-dropout rate. It is for this reason that the Fondation Pierre Fabre is supporting the Amafrica study conducted by Abidjan’s Yopougon teaching hospital, measuring the impact of telephone follow-up on the chemotherapy-dropout rate of lymphoma patients.
On 21 September, at the third conference of the SIHIO-TS (Ivorian Society of Immunology-Haematology-Oncology-Blood Transfusion) of Côte d’Ivoire, a delegation from Fondation Pierre Fabre, together with the other stakeholders, formally presented Amafrica to an audience of healthcare professionals, haematologists and oncologists.
Amafrica takes inspiration from a study begun in 2006 by Mr Guy Laurent, Professor at the Institut Universitaire du Cancer de Toulouse Oncopole (IUCTO). This project, known as AMA (ambulatory medical assistance) entails consistent telephone contact with haematology patients, at their homes, by the Toulouse teaching hospital. This telephone contact resulted in measurable positive impact on treatment compliance, as well as on the overall quality of patient care.
Professor Gustave Koffi (with his team on the picture above) of the Yopougon teaching hospital in Abidjan saw these results as a potential solution to reducing the treatment-dropout rate in Côte d’Ivoire and, as 60% of the population has a mobile phone, this simple and inexpensive plan met feasibility criteria. With seven years’ experience and 1,300 patients monitored, the Toulouse IUCTO and the AMA association, led by Guy Laurent, became the project’s scientific partners. Amafrica was born and the Fondation Pierre Fabre found it to be a worthy investment, as it is in line with the Foundation’s mission of improving access to quality healthcare.
The first results are expected mid-2018
In specific terms, out of a group of one hundred lymphoma patients, half will receive telephone follow-up from a specially trained nurse coordinator who will:
- remind the patient of his/her appointment before the chemotherapy session,
- monitor the patient’s condition after the treatment session and offer guidance if needed,
- reschedule the appointment if the patient misses the treatment session
This follow-up is more than an appointment-reminder system: it is a support system that can surpass what is offered in a strict medical setting. The other half of the group’s patients will follow their prescribed treatment following conventional protocol, without telephone assistance.
In addition to the expected positive impact on the treatment-dropout rate, this study will measure the reasons for treatment dropout (financial, socio-cultural, etc.) to better tailor planning to those issues. The project’s simplicity is what makes the plan so powerful, and the Fondation Pierre Fabre is carefully assessing potential applications to other medical conditions or follow-up needs.