IPFA Workshop on Improving Access to Plasma and Plasma Products in the Southern African Region 2015


IPFA, in collaboration with the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion (AfSBT), National Bioproducts Institute (NBI), South African National Blood Service (SANBS) and Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) and the support of commercial entities, organized and hosted the above regional workshop reflecting IPFA’s priority to support plasma collection programmes to meet the increasing need for plasma derived medicinal products. This workshop was held on 1 and 2 December in Stellenbosch (Cape Town) and in addition to delegates from South Africa the meeting attracted representatives from the wider region including Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ghana, Kenya and Cameroon as well as international experts from Europe, US, Canada and Southeast Asia.

The workshop sought to bring together all stakeholders from the region and beyond who share the common goal of overcoming barriers and constraints to establish a sustainable and safe supply of transfusion products to meet patient needs. We were pleased to welcome colleagues from blood establishments and societies, fractionators, clinical practice, patient organisations, research organisations and regulatory authorities who came together for inclusive and cooperative discussion on the topics covered in the programme. These included:

  • Setting the scene – access to plasma products in the region against a background of international developments
  • Strategies and priorities for meeting clinical needs for plasma products in the region – including human immunoglobulin therapy for endemic infectious diseases – and setting realistic goals
  • Patient and treaters perspectives on the delivery of affordable and sustainable diagnosis and treatment
  • Meeting the challenges of established and emerging pathogens and the future role of plasma products in managing future outbreaks of eg Ebola
  • Establishing quality and regulatory systems which support and facilitate the increased collection of plasma for fractionation in the region and its onward manufacture into essential plasma derived medicinal products
  • The value and achievements of existing initiatives such as the AfSBT Accreditation Programme as part of a longer term strategy for the region
  • The contribution to blood services in the region of supporting manufacturers.

This workshop set out to inform, debate and promote a spirit of cooperation on issues of concern to stakeholders in the region. The feedback we have received strongly supports the conclusion that this objective has been achieved. IPFA and its collaborating organisations would like to offer their sincere thanks to all participants who gave so freely of their time, energy and expertise in contributing to the success of the meeting. IPFA and its co-organisers were honoured to be given the opportunity to host this workshop and hope that the insights provided and new relationships established will help the region maintain momentum and build on its already substantial achievements. In the light of feedback from this meeting, IPFA and its co-organisers are considering the possibility of a future follow-up event.

Workshop Proceedings
Colleagues who presented at the meeting have kindly allowed us to make their presentations publicly available on the IPFA website. Please see below.

IPFA Educational Day – Action Planning for Increased Plasma Supply in the Southern African Region

In addition and prior to the above workshop, IPFA, SANBS, NBI and WPBTS also co-organised an Educational Day open to all attendees of the workshop.

This was attended by approximately 60 delegates and from key stakeholders in the region. The theme of this meeting addressed topics common to both events but with the goal of identifying and agreeing achievable actions in support of recommendations from WHO “Achilles Project” Meetings held in 2010 (Geneva), 2013 (Johannesburg) and 2015 (Cotonou, Benin).
Following introductory presentations attendees formed two Working Groups to address:

  • Critical Issues of Blood and Plasma Collection
  • Critical Issues of Regulatory Infrastructure and Compliance including the transition from ‘accreditation’ to GMP compliance.

The outcomes from these groups were discussed in a plenary session as a first step towards the preparation of a report from the meeting. Once again the organisers of this event are grateful to those who facilitated discussion through their thoughtful and expert presentations and for the engaged and enthusiastic contributions of delegates.

Educational Day Proceedings 

A report from this meeting will be developed and published but meantime presentations from the Educational Day are publicly available on the IPFA website. Please see below.