Lead by the Bristol-Myers Squib Foundation, the SECURE THE FUTURE® initiative works with their partners in Africa to provide care and support for communities affected by HIV.
Francophone sub-Saharan Africa has a population of 280 million people, of which about 40% is under the age of 15. Approximately 15,000 cancer cases will be diagnosed for children under the age of 15 every year. In high income countries, nearly 80% of cancers treated in the pediatric population have a chance of recovery. However, in low- and middle-income countries, there are still significant mortality numbers in pediatric patients due to lack of resources, health system malfunctions, and late diagnosis. Nearly 80% of pediatric cancers occur in these settings and 40% of pediatric cancers are diagnosed in late stages. Furthermore, there is inadequate training for healthcare professionals to appropriately treat and care for pediatric cancer.
The Groupe Franco-Africain d’Oncologie Pediatrique (GFAOP) was founded in 2000 with a vision that African children with cancer could and must be treated effectively in Africa by African teams. Since its inception, over 20 hospitals in 16 Francophone African countries have created specialized pediatric oncology units. Additionally, they have trained medical and paramedical staff through diploma programs with a total of 240 trainees trained in Paris University and Rabat University. GFAOP have also developed protocols to treat 5 of the most curable and frequently presented pediatric cancers in Africa (Burkitt’s lymphoma, nephroblastoma, acute lymphoid leukemia, retinoblastoma, and Hodgkin’s disease).
As part of GFAOP’s 2025 Strategic Plan, at least 3,000 children will be cared for in sub-Saharan Francophone Africa hospital units with an early stage diagnosis. Through short-term training sessions and long certifying training diplomas, GFAOP aims to train healthcare professionals inclusive of nurses, pathologists, surgeons, and pharmacists to adequately treat and care for pediatric cancers.