Published on 01/29/2024

Meeting of the CARES II International Steering Committee.

As phase 2 of the CARES project gets underway in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, the health authorities, in this case the Director of Health for Ziguinchor, the technical, financial and operational partners and the ENDA Santé team are meeting to present the broad outlines of the second phase of the project for the period 2024-2027. This meeting of the International Steering Committee is held annually and constitutes the strategic and guiding body of the program.

Casamance Research Program on HIV-Resistance and sexual health (CARES) is a project implemented by ENDA Santé in Senegal and Guinea Bissau to strengthen health system capacities through clinical and community management of problems linked to HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and papillomavirus (HPV).

At this meeting, the results of the external evaluation of the first phase of CARES were shared. The study highlighted the "relevance" of the project and the positive effects of the interventions in terms of strengthening the health system.

Expertise and practices in health posts relating to the quality of diagnosis and treatment of patients, and the ability to conduct quality research were noted. The study highlighted a multi-actor approach noted in both intervention countries, working on common objectives. The integration of a triptych (research, capacity building and intervention) gives the project an innovative and unprecedented character.

Youssouf Tine, Director of Health for the Ziguinchor region, praised the project's performance, particularly in terms of strengthening the health system, which is in line with the Senegalese government's Health and Social Development Plan in terms of combating disease and promoting well-being at all ages.

It's a community project, involving ENDA Santé, various doctors, infectiologists and gynecologists, Senegalese academics, research laboratories and the Luxembourg hospital center. Together, they identified projects to be carried out jointly, in line with the needs of the local population. A rather impressive number of partners, in consortium to accompany this project in Ziguinchor, Bignona and Bissau and now in Oussouye in phase 2.

Henri Goedertz, San Access

Nearly 6,000 women screened for cervical cancer and 20,000 people screened for hepatitis B

In Ziguinchor, at least 6,000 women were screened. Those with suspected cases were treated on site in Ziguinchor. For hepatitis B, awareness-raising and screening sessions were held. Over 20,000 people were screened and made aware of the disease. As for HIV/AIDS, a number of patients enrolled were able to continue their treatment and measure their viral load, with the setting up of a laboratory to support the medical region in its response to HIV.

CARES 2 innovations

Phase 2 of CARES II will build on the achievements and address the challenges identified over the next 5 years of its implementation. Major innovations have been introduced and validated by the steering committee.

The aim is for Senegal to strengthen :

  • collaboration between the health faculties of the University of Luxembourg and the Assane Seck University in Ziguinchor for exchanges of students in their year of specialization and practitioners;
  • expansion of intervention zones: implementation of a hepatitis B elimination project in the Oussouye health district (a first in Africa).
  • rehabilitation of health facilities in the Ziguinchor region to strengthen the health system
  • setting up a sub-regional cytology reference unit at the Ziguinchor Peace Hospital (high-level equipment and support)
  • training a cytotechnician in Luxembourg
  • local capacity-building and the exchange of North-South best practices
  • strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships.

For Guinea Bissau, we note :

  • setting up a program to prevent and manage chronic hepatitis B in Guinea-Bissau (research, viral load, fibroscan and treatment for eligible cases);
  • Extending the program to island areas lacking in health infrastructure and quality human resources (Bubaque Island/Bijagos);
  • strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships (New site: Military Hospital, Céu e Terra Association)  
  • the possibility of transferring patients with cervical cancer for treatment in Luxembourg (Centre Hospitalier du Luxembourg);
  • support for mammography operations in Bissau.