Doha, 10 February 2024: The Transfusion Medicine division (TRM) under the able leadership and direction of Dr. Einas AbdulAziz Al Kuwari, Chairperson, of the internationally accredited Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology (DLMP) at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), recently organized the First Advancing Immunohematology Skills and Advanced Wet Workshop, from 06th to 08th January 2024 at Hamad Medical City.
HMC provides national laboratory testing services and the department conducted more than 21,686,820 laboratory tests in the year 2023, of which over 2 million were blood samples. This specialized training was aimed to enhance the Immunohematology skills of Transfusion Medicine laboratory staff and to ensure the safest and highest quality of transfusion care is administered to every patient.
The three-day professional development activity was conducted by International Transfusion Medicine experts from the Asian Association of Transfusion Medicine (AATM). During this hands-on workshop, participants had the opportunity to practice their antibody detection and identification skills through practical exercises. The wet workshop enabled participants to utilize specialty products to practice complex immunohematology testing to enhance their skills.
Professor Walid Al Wali, Senior Consultant and Vice Chair for Clinical Pathology at DLMP gave the welcoming speech, and Dr Sara Adel Salim, Head of Transfusion Medicine at HMC and organizer of the workshop scientific program, highlighted the TRM division's passion for promoting the use of cutting-edge technologies and best practice methodologies to tackle the most complex and intricate challenges in transfusion medicine.
Dr. Aysha Al Malki, Executive Director of the Transfusion Medicine division at HMC & Chairperson of the workshop Scientific Planning Committee, explained the importance of holding this professional skills training: “To minimize the risk of transfusion reactions and complications, it is crucial to prioritize regular antibody detection in the blood bank laboratory. As the primary blood testing center in Qatar, we routinely conduct red cell antibody detection tests and identification procedures that align with international standards. This workshop aims to raise awareness about the importance of these routine investigations and enhance the technical expertise of blood bank personnel to carry out these procedures effectively.”
The DLMP operates the Qatar National Blood Donation Services, which is the only organization responsible for provision of blood supplies for the entire state of Qatar including all governmental and private health institutions. The department has achieved accreditation from the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapy (AABB) and is also accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), which is considered the global gold standard for providing high quality laboratory diagnostic services.
Dr. Al Malki, who is also currently the President of the Arab League for Blood Transfusion Services (AABTS), which is a subsidiary body of the Arab Health Ministers Council, added: “Our department provides a national blood testing service and operates collection and testing centers all over the country. It is a tremendous task from a processing and data entry perspective. This workshop is designed to enable our staff to use the best techniques to study antigens and antibodies in Red Blood Cells (RBC) associated with blood transfusions and streamline the efficiency of our systems to manage the growing demand for our services.”
Dr. Al Malki and her team are passionate about ensuring Qatar’s ability to deliver a high standard of clinical service that underpins the modern delivery of advanced medicine. The team also regularly carries out blood donation drives across Qatar to ensure blood and blood products are available to anyone who needs them in Qatar.
Dr. Javed Akhter, Vice Chair of Operations of Laboratory Services in the Department and Chair of the Scientific Planning Committee for the Workshop, explained how the workshop and lecture series represented a special milestone for HMC: “This event reaffirms our commitment as a Center of Excellence for learning and sharing knowledge with the professional community. This event provides an ideal forum for sharing key updates on pioneering discoveries in Immunohematology which we can share with healthcare professionals who can enhance their skills and introduce improvements in their work practices. “
“We thank our international experts from the Asian Association of Transfusion Medicine (AATM) for honoring us with their presence and for their willingness to share their immense knowledge and expertise,” added Dr. Akhter. “We also thank our sponsors, for their invaluable support, commitment, and partnership is essential for furthering skills and improving knowledge in our laboratories.”
The success of this learning activity has fueled demand for more specialized professional education opportunities and plans are underway to arrange additional training in the future.