A Diabetes Academy for Africa
The first edition of the training days of “Diabète Académie Afrique” (D2A), the African Diabetes Academy — an association gathering eminent African Professors and Doctors of Medicine — was held on January 28th, 2016 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast Co-organized by Servier, the event was an opportunity for about twenty young Francophone African doctors to follow a program of excellence in the field of Diabetology, to promote scientific cooperation between African countries and to improve medical care of African diabetic patients.
Diabetes, a pandemic affecting Africa
Considered a rare disease in Africa until the 2000s, diabetes has become one of the diseases whose progress is most worrying on the continent. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 20 million Africans were suffering from diabetes in 2013, with the number expected to double over the next 20 years, reaching nearly 6% of the population. This estimate is particularly troubling considering that the African scientific community does not currently benefit from the structural entities needed to stem the progression of the disease nor can they provide specific recommendations to their patients for both prevention and treatment options. Moreover, the African continent does not produce enough internationally recognized publications to develop an expertise on diabetes and improve patient care.
The creation of the African Academy Diabetes
Aware of these public health issues, two internationally recognized diabetologists Dr. Adrien Lokrou and Professor Jean-Claude Mbanya, brought together eminent african Doctors and Professors in Diabetology. With the help of Servier, they founded the Diabète Académie Afrique (D2A) association at the University Hospital of Yopougon in Abidjan.
The main objective of the D2A is to create a favorable scientific framework to improve diabetes prevention on the African continent, as well as to better prepare future diabetologists to support the arrival of a significant number of new patients.
The main missions of the D2A will be first to organize training sessions in technical areas to train African doctors in the latest scientific advances, to promote the development of diabetes in studies focusing specifically on Africans and contribute to the development of recommendations tailored for the local population.
With over 40 years of experience in diabetes, and with a presence in 148 countries worldwide, including in West and Central Africa, the Servier group was asked to assist the association in its creation, the operational establishment of its structure and its action, and to advise it in its development.
First D2A training session
The first training session co-organized by D2A and the Servier Group, was held from 28 to 30 January 2016 in Abidjan. A first class of 26 students (in the fields of medicine or pharmacy) gathered for the occasion with attendants coming from across West and Central Africa (Cameroon, Benin, Senegal, Togo, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso).
First D2A training session – Abidjan, january 2016
During 3 days, numerous presentations were made by members of the D2A on technical subjects such as the genomics (biological function) of diabetes, clinical and biological signs of diabetes complications, or recommendations on which therapeutic strategies to adopt when dealing with type 2 diabetes. The participants were trained on more cross-cutting issues, such as the critical reading of scientific articles, the publication process of these articles and general concepts such as leadership. Students also worked in groups on these topics with a follow up on participants operated throughout the training year.
To help them in their journey, the group Servier created a web platform for discussion and work. This website allows D2A to talk about the association’s activities, to highlight the updated data on diabetes in Africa, and also to enroll new participants into the programme. Participants can also exchange ideas, share experiences, and access the e-learning platform where new training and homework will be offered throughout the year.
D2A is aware that the future of Africa lies not only in international North-South cooperation, but also in South-South cooperation. It is this cooperation that will enable Africa to better prevent diseases and manage patients. Therefore, building on the success of this first session, future meetings and trainings organized by D2A and Servier are already planned, including in other English-speaking African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya.