Support for the Sickle Cell Research and Treatment Centre (CRTD)

— Central African Republic —

BACKGROUND

The Sickle Cell Research and Treatment Centre (CRTD), a national referral centre founded in 2018 at the initiative of the Central African Republic Ministry of Health and Population is located on the grounds of Bangui’s National University Hospital Centre. Specialising in treatment of sickle cell disease, it has been receiving support since 2019 from the Fondation Pierre Fabre, which has developed leading expertise in the disease and its research and prevention ecosystem in Africa (with initiatives in 11 countries since 2016):  creating a research centre to combat sickle cell disease in Mali, supporting the Comité d’Initiative contre la Drépanocytose in Burkina (Sickle Cell Disease Initiative Committee in Burkina or CID/B), a partnership with health authorities in the DRC, etc.

Though largely ignored by healthcare systems and international aid programmes, treatment of sickle cell disease is nevertheless a public health priority in Africa, a continent hit hard by this inherited disease affecting the haemoglobin and which is particularly debilitating and painful.

THREE PRIORITY AREAS OF SUPPORT

EThe Foundation’s support in the CAR focuses on three areas of progress that create the best conditions possible for the structure to fulfil its mission while promoting its long-term stability and developing the staff’s skills:

  • Supplying quality medicines essential to treating sickle cell patients;
  • Supplying equipment for the centre;
  • Training staff in treating this specific pathology by disseminating clinical guidelines.

In 2020, to confront the Covid-19 pandemic, the Fondation Pierre Fabre helped establish training in relevant safety measures and recognition and referral of suspected Covid cases in accordance with national recommendations. Material supplies reinforced this training (personal protective equipment, hand sanitiser, etc.) to protect healthcare professionals and particularly vulnerable patients onsite at the CRTD.

A COMPREHENSIVE REINFORCEMENT PLAN

In response to a growing number of patients from provinces located far from Bangui, the CRTD staff wanted to conduct a remote training session in basic treatment of sickle cell patients. This four-day training course, funded by the Fondation Pierre Fabre, was held in March 2021 in Bimbo and was attended by 78 health professionals (physicians, health workers, midwives) from six areas in Health Region 1 near the capital.

This training operation will be repeated to help create a “sickle cell ecosystem” in the CAR and to improve treatment of the disease at the bottom tiers of the health pyramid. Since June 2021, the Foundation’s support has taken the form of a multi-year reinforcement plan.

KEY FACTS
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Priority
Sickle cell disease

Programme
Since 2019

Type of involvement
Distributor

Action
Funding for CRTD staff training, equipment purchases and supply of essential medicines for sickle cell patients

ACHIEVEMENTS AND FUTURE INITIATIVES

Achievements

7,883

patient consultations, 25% of them on children under age 5

552 to 821

patients seen in consultation in the first trimester (monthly average) / in the fourth trimester, a 49% increase

102 to 142

hospitalised patients: monthly average rising over the same period (up 39%)

A difficult political situation

Late 2020 and early 2021 saw major unrest in the CAR, which impacted travel routes to the capital. The CRTD continued its activities by establishing new medicine-supply circuits in order to avoid stockouts. About 80% of these medicines are obtained from the ASSOMESCA (wholesaler and distributor of faith-based healthcare structures in the country), the only local quality supplier.

PARTNERS

  • CAR Ministry of Health and Population
  • Bangui National University Hospital Centre

See also

Follow our actions

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The Fondation Pierre Fabre has been working to combat sickle cell disease in Haiti for several years and now expands this commitment to provide structural support to the St Damien Pediatric Hospital. The Foundation’s help was sought following the earthquake of 14 August 2021, which further weakened an already fragile healthcare system.

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