Transfusion Medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa: Conference Summary
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In November 2014, a 3-day conference devoted to transfusion medicine in sub-Saharan Africa was held in Kampala, Uganda. Faculty from academic institutions in Uganda provided a broad overview of issues pertinent to transfusion medicine in Africa. The conference consisted of lectures, demonstrations, and discussions followed by 5 small group workshops held at the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service Laboratories, the Ugandan Cancer Institute, and the Mulago National Referral Hospital. Highlighted topics included the challenges posed by increasing clinical demands for blood, the need for better patient identification at the time of transfusion, inadequate application of the antiglobulin reagent during pretransfusion testing, concern regarding proper recognition and evaluation of transfusion reactions, the expanded role for nurse leadership as a means to improve patient outcomes, and the need for an epidemiologic map of blood usage in Africa. Specialty areas of focus included the potential for broader application of transcranial Doppler and hydroxyurea therapy in sickle cell disease, African-specific guidelines for transfusion support of cancer patients, the challenges of transfusion support in trauma, and the importance of African-centered clinical research in pediatric and obstetric transfusion medicine. The course concluded by summarizing the benefits derived from an organized quality program that extended from the donor to the recipient. As an educational tool, the slide-audio presentation of the lectures will be made freely available at the International Society of Blood Transfusion Academy Web site: http://www.isbtweb.org/academy/.
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