NNHF Community Award 2018: Teamwork that is felt throughout Africa

Professor Mahlangu is director of the Haemophilia Comprehensive Care Centre in Johannesburg which provides care and support for people with bleeding disorders.

Throughout much of Africa, foundational elements of haemophilia care need to be established. A lack of expertise and infrastructure Comprehensive Care Centre Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital and Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology of the National Laboratory Service and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. And while he lives in South Africa, his impact has reached the entire continent.

In desperate need

As a continent, Africa is home to 20% of the world’s population and consists of 54 countries. However, a look at the resources dedicated to meeting that enormous need in healthcare shows that there is a make accurate diagnosis a challenge. When it is available, treatment is generally used as rescue therapy and administered in healthcare centres. Home therapy and prophylactic therapy are almost non-existent. Finally, there is a deep lack of knowledge among healthcare providers, people with haemophilia and communities.

To most, this sheer scope of the need would seem impossible to address. How can you make a change in a continent? Where do you begin to contribute making change that will matter? Professor Mahlangu approached this challenge one step at a time.

Prof Mahlangu’s approach is based on his vision: building a shelter for haemophilia care where people with haemophilia are at the centre, with solid foundations consisting of medical committee and a roof of a national haemophilia programme supported by two pillars which are an active national patient organisation and cooperative healthcare authorities.

Over the past 15 years, step by step, he has led efforts in numerous countries to contribute addressing many of the mentioned issues. Prof Mahlangu teamed up with international and local organisations as well as a wide network of experts. The total effect was an improvement in care that affected 10 African countries.

Examine the incredible body of work:

Better care from physicians

  • Professor Mahlangu has led 10 physician training sessions on haemophilia in 8 different African countries.
  • A total of 12 healthcare professionals are now equipped to provide better care because of his efforts.

Improved capacity for diagnosis

  • Haemophilia cannot be treated if it is not accurately diagnosed
  • 18 laboratory training session in 16 countries have been conducted under Professor Mahlangu’s leadership
  • A total of 36 technicians who are now able to properly diagnose patients in their region.

Establishing centres for care

  • 6 haemophilia treatment centres have been created, suppported by Professor Mahlangu’s efforts
  • Now patients in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia have better access to support, leadership and care.

In addressing the challenges of bleeding disorders in Africa, it is the team work and mutiple partnerships that will take far. It is indeed a pleasure for many us living in Africa to work with the NNHF and people with haemophilia in advancing the course of care for inherited bleeding disorders in Africa.

shared Professor Mahlangu receiving the award at the WFH Congress on 23 May

Prof Mahlangu’s has been dedicated to sharing expertise, building partnerships, and always putting people with bleeding disorders at the centre of his work.

He has been a catalyst for lasting and profound change across an entire continent. In the name of the bleeding disorders community, the NNHF is deeply thankful for his efforts. It is with great pride that we present Professor Johnny Mahlangu with the NNHF Community Award 2018.

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