children on the playground
The French African Group of Pediatric Oncology is a medical association founded in 2000 by Professor Jean Lemerle. After a successful career in the cancerology development in France and abroad, he began a working group to develop childhood cancer management in Africa with a vision: "African cancer children can and must be treated effectively in Africa by African teams".
While children in developed countries have a significant chance of recovery (75-80%), children in developing countries continue to die massively due to a lack of resources, skilled care and dysfunctions of the health system. Yet 8 out of 10 pediatric cancer cases occur in these countries. Thus in sub-Saharan Francophone Africa there are 10,000 new cases of cancer per year in children under the age of 15. *
In this context over 18 years, the GFAOP enabled opening 22 hospital units specialized in pediatric oncology in 18 countries in Africa.
These pilot units have the skills and means to manage children with cancer according to diagnostic and therapeutic procedures adapted to the local context. The GFAOP provides following directions :
  • Support for the set up of new care units
  • Training of medical and paramedical staff
  • Protocols, better prognoses and drug supply for the 5 most common types of cancer in Africa
    • Burkitt's lymphoma
    • Wilms
    • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
    • Retinoblastoma
    • Hodgkin's disease
  • Psychological and material support for families (support funds, parents' houses)
  • Raising awareness among institutions, local authorities, professionals and populations
sight focused child
In 18 years, more than 11,000 children have already been treated in sub-Saharan Africa with cure rates of up to 54-70% depending on the type of cancer. The GFAOP has therefore demonstrated that it is feasible, even under difficult conditions, to offer children appropriate care thanks to long-term commitment. This is a true message of hope !
Visit of a new pilot unit
The GFAOP, with its experience and know-how, must continue to work in its own way for a more equitable world. One of the major challenges is the development of African competences in order to perpetuate and develop care. The creation of the African School of Pediatric Oncology for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers and the creation of the Franco-Moroccan pediatric oncology diploma (DUCP) aimed to meet this challenge. More than 450 doctors and nurses have already been trained in pediatric oncology.
Today, the GFAOP is the reference agency for childhood cancer in French-speaking Africa. A 10-year development plan for pediatric oncology has been settled. Our team goals for 2025 :
  • Welcome more than 3000 children per year in 2020, then 6000 in 2025 by opening new units in new countries and provincial towns (ie 25% then 40% of sick children, whereas we achieve to welcome only 15% today)
  • Take care of children earlier, at an earlier stage of cancer by training staff for better early diagnosis; work on awareness by addressing especially mothers
  • Train more staff in all medical specialties (onco-pediatricians, surgeons, pathologists, radiotherapists, pharmacists, nurses...), bring them to work together by training them together
  • Create a support fund for the most deprived families so that they do not abandon their child's treatment
  • Backing a Parent House to each care unit
Thanks to the commitment of the GFAOP medical teams, the support provided by the institutions, the authorities, the partners and the civil society, what still seemed impossible becomes true : children with cancers in Africa can also have access to care!
* For 18 countries with 280 million inhabitants (based on an incidence of 85 new cases / year / million children under 15 years old, Cancer in Children, The Cancer Atlas 2nd edition, The American Cancer Society, 2014) | +33 (0)9 72 10 25 44

GFAOP - Gustave Roussy - 114, rue Edouard Vaillant 94805 Villejuif Cedex - France
Cancer Campus Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus Gustave Roussy