Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am very honoured to welcome you to the 10th International Congress of AfSBT holding from 20 to 23 April 2020. AfSBT is proud today that after 9 successful congresses, our 10th meeting is taking place in the beautiful capital city of Dakar, Senegal, the westernmost city on our African continent, a major regional port, and the largest city of this great country.

Blood safety challenges are predominant on the African continent, and this is more so in sub-Saharan Africa where political commitment is yet limited, there is high prevalence of transfusion transmissible infections, a shortage of trained personnel in transfusion medicine and infrastructural and other resources, contribute significantly to hamper safety. Furthermore, altruistic blood donation is not common, especially as taboos and other cultural beliefs are still associated with blood in some African cultures.

Yet and interestingly, countries of our Region are in the greatest need of blood from nutritional anaemias, haemoglobinopathies, bleeding from road traffic accidents, and obstetrical haemorrhages. Indeed, according to the World Health Organisation, about 60% of maternal deaths in developing countries are due to postpartum haemorrhage, accounting for more than 100,000 maternal deaths per year, this without including other causes of haemorrhage and anaemia in women. A report by Mpemba et al (2014) indicated that in 2010 alone, about 800 women died daily worldwide, due to birth complications, and 440 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa alone. In Cameroon, WHO data in 2017 alone reported 6 560 deaths from road traffic accidents (2.97% of all deaths). Some of these deaths are preventable through access to safe blood transfusions.

Access to safe blood and blood products in a timely manner for everyone and in every community worldwide should be a global target. And It gives me great pleasure to know that we are all coming together in Dakar for a common purpose, that of working together to make a positive difference in blood safety throughout the African continent and beyond.

The theme for this congress is “BLOOD TRANSFUSION AND HEALTH PRIORITIES IN AFRICA”. Revolving around this theme, scientific presentations, debates, discussions, workshops and exhibitions, will be conducted to cover the health agenda and challenges in Africa, and position blood transfusion appropriately.

At this congress we aim to combine experts and leaders in health policy and transfusion medicine, not only from Africa but from around the world, as well as young scientists and newcomers in the field of blood transfusion, to conduct lively debates and interactive discussions that will address health priorities on our continent.

The strong commitment of the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion to blood safety together with the support of partners in the Step-Wise Accreditation Programme, encourages and motivates us to bring you the best in this congress.

On behalf of AfSBT, I thank you in advance for your attendance and participation to this congress and wish everyone fruitful deliberations of our rich scientific programme. May I seize the opportunity to thank the Government of Senegal and the Local Organising Committee for accepting to host this August event. I wish to also sincerely acknowledge our honourable speakers and our sponsors who have been instrumental in our making this happen. My sincere appreciation also goes to the members of the organizing and scientific committees and lastly to you all for being there.

Please network and learn from each other and we hope the impact of this congress on blood safety and availability in your respective countries will be evident upon your return home. Enjoy the congress and Dakar, and God bless you all.

Dora Mbanya,
President, AfSBT