T-REC is now half way through its four-year project and the different components are coming to fruition. Four PhD students, two in Ghana and two in Zimbabwe, are well underway with their respective research projects. All four of the PhD students made poster presentations at the 23rd ISBT International Congress. Tonderai Mapako, a PhD student in Zimbabwe, also had an article accepted in the journal Transfusion about his research findings on blood safety, due to be published in late 2013.
The Diploma in Project Design and Management (DPDM) component of T-REC has made good progress. DPDM courses are being run in three sites:
- Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana
- 37 Military Hospital (37MH) and National Blood Transfusion Services (GNBS), Accra, Ghana
- Zimbabwe National Blood Transfusion Services (NBSZ), Harare, Zimbabwe
A total of 42 health professionals are expected to complete the course during the T-REC period. The DPDM trains health professionals to carry out research which meets the needs of the local health institution (in this case the national blood transfusion services) and the local population. It supports transfusion policy makers, service managers and researchers to work together to identify research needs, develop research strategies and use research to inform policy.
Eighteen students are enrolled in the DPDM courses undertaking a variety of transfusion-related projects ranging from laboratory and clinical topics to social science and communications. The first intake of students has completed the course and is expected to hand in their final report and graduate in August 2013. The DPDM aims to be locally sustainable and now over 30 percent of all the DPDM courses across the three sites are run by local tutors. In addition, NBSZ have found separate funding to take a third cohort of students
The final component of T-REC is the student bursaries, which supports undergraduates and postgraduates in Ghana and Zimbabwe to undertake research in blood transfusion related topics. Successful applicants receive small grants to undertake an approved research project. So far six students in Ghana and four students in Zimbabwe have received a grant.
All T-REC members were represented during the ISBT congress: National Blood Service Ghana; National Blood Service Zimbabwe; African Society for Blood Transfusion; University of Groningen; University of Copenhagen and LSTM.