T-REC is holding a lunchtime symposium at this year's AfSBT Congress - Thursday 31st July
Strengthening Transfusion Research Capacity in Africa
T-REC is an international consortium of academics and health practitioners working to strengthen the capacity of African researchers to do research on blood transfusion. T-REC works in Ghana and Zimbabwe and is a four-year project (2011-2015) funded by the EU Commission.
“Blood transfusion is a hugely important issue for all health services
and it is very expensive so we have to get it right.
It is neglected in terms of having evidence-based practice.”
Imelda Bates, Principal Investigator, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
What is the problem?
Blood banking in Africa is hampered by the lack of safe and stable blood donors and by varying and inconsequential infectious disease screening. In Africa, only a few researchers are qualified to carry out research on blood transfusion, which restricts national efforts to improve blood supply and safety standards.
Evidence used to guide policy and practice has almost exclusively been generated by Europe and North America, and is often inappropriate for African contexts.
At a workshop in Mombasa, Kenya in 2008, transfusion service stakeholders from Africa identified and prioritised the research they needed to generate appropriate evidence. A disturbing conclusion was that African transfusion services had very little indigenous research capacity at any level and lacked research strategies. They were simply not able to generate much-needed evidence.
What does T-REC do?
T-REC supports African researchers to carry out locally appropriate research into blood transfusion. It brings together African transfusion practitioners and managers who have in-depth knowledge of the needs and challenges of their transfusion services, with academics experienced in designing and conducting international quality research. The project addresses a specific need - identified by national blood transfusion services in Ghana and Zimbabwe - to increase capacity to conduct research that meets local health priorities. It is also hoped that research findings will influence local policy and practice.
“Blood transfusion is an essential component of modern health care which saves millions of lives each year in Ghana. Although the need for blood is universal, in Africa and the developing world, the pattern of blood usage differs markedly from that of the Western World. It is important we have an evidence base to make sure we get our blood services right in Africa, not using things that have only been tried and tested in the Western world.”
Justina Ansah, Director National Blood Service, Ghana