Fighting Sickle Cell Anemia in Madagascar

Partnership objectives

  1. Facilitating access for communities to the diagnosis and effective treatment of sickle cell disease
  2. Continuing and maintaining effective, well-planned field work in the Education, Information, and Prevention of sickle cell anemia to contribute to change behaviours
  3. Detecting and helping identify people at risk in high-risk areas and districts, in association with local authorities and institutions

Most deaths due to complications from sickle cell anemia are found in children under five. Most deaths due to complications from sickle cell anemia are found in children under five. Copyright Sanofi

What are the health needs and challenges?

Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease that affects the hemoglobin red blood cells. It affects nearly 120 million people worldwide, yet few of them are aware of its existence or even know they have it. Sickle cell disease is a major public health problem because it is widespread in the African Region where the abnormal gene has a prevalence of between 2% and 30%, which explains the high mortality and morbidity due to this illness.

In most countries, it is a serious disease responsible for many deaths of children aged under 5. From 25 to 50% of homozygous children die before they are two and only 5 to 10% of them reach adulthood. The survivors are still vulnerable to outbreaks of the disease and its complications.

In Madagascar, there is an estimated 9% global prevalence of sickle cell disease. Most deaths due to complications of the disease are found in children under five, adolescents and pregnant women.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

The project carried out by the LCDM association in partnership with the Sanofi Espoir Foundation is primarily focused on outreach in towns and villages in ten regions covered by the national program against sickle cell disease.

A number of actions are being implemented:

  • Education and awareness about the prevention of risk factors of vaso-occlusive crises (VOC) in sickle cell disease, especially among children under five.
  • Educating people about simple hygiene, nutrition and care actions to help treat sickle cell disease.
  • Training healthcare professionals and paramedics to treat sickle cell disease more effectively from an early age at the onset of first sickle cell crises.
  • Raising the awareness of partners and local NGOs about access to water, and front line therapy for the treatment of sickle cell disease.

Lessons learned

Many different stakeholders, included the Ministry of Health must be involved in a global approach so that initiatives in the field will be successful.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Sanofi

Partner(s) CIPMonaco, Francophone African Network for Telemedicine, LCDMF, Lifestyle Disease Division, Madagascar Department of Health and Family Planning, Pierre Fabre, World Health Organization/CDM (Associations of doctors in Madagascar)

Type of Partner(s) Government, NGOs, Other Business

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases

Disease(s) Sickle Cell Anemia

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Targeted Population(s) Children, Men, Mothers, Patients in needs of treatment, Women, Youth

Region(s) Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) Madagascar

Start Date 2005

More information Sanofi Espoir Foundation

Completed date 2012

« As the daughter of a victim of sickle cell anemia from Madagascar, I spent my whole childhood with sickle cell disease without knowing its name, but aware of the suffering and the pain it causes. »

Pascale Jeannot, President LCDM France