Prof Philippe de Moerloose: Partnering to enhance impact

For more than ten years, Prof Philippe de Moerloose has played a fundamental role in establishing partnerships that improve haemophilia care in Africa. Bringing his experience to the NNHF Rwanda project, Prof de Moerloose emphasises the importance of a multi-partner collaborative approach.

Taking a partnership approach to haemophilia care comes naturally to Prof de Moerloose: “Haemophilia and bleeding disorders are a special area. As it’s a lifelong condition, we get to know our patients. Close relationships are built, and healthcare professionals and people with haemophilia are viewed as equals,” he explains.

Keen to apply this approach in Rwanda, Prof de Moerloose is one of a team of collaborators working to improve knowledge and diagnosis in the country and to decentralise care beyond the capital city of Kigali.

Joining forces for long-lasting impact

Prof de Moerloose is a representative of the French African Alliance for the Treatment of Haemophilia (AFATH), which partners with French speaking African countries to improve haemophilia care. In Rwanda, AFATH’s role includes the education of healthcare professionals and people with haemophilia, and the development of quality diagnosis. “AFATH was really created with the objective to help with education and diagnosis at a certain level, but with the idea that other international and local organisations will take the lead after us to ensure sustainability.”

AFATH joined forces with the Rwanda patient organisation, NNHF and Save One Life, an organisation providing aid to people with haemophilia in developing countries, to build the strategy and skills required to improve haemophilia care.

Activities were identified as complementary to those of the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH), which was supplying humanitarian aid in Rwanda, and who would provide support for education, diagnosis and registry on a wider scale once the Rwandan patient organisation was registered as a National Member Organisation.

“Sometimes we see cases of international organisations starting activities in developing countries, it lasts one or two years and after that they leave and everything stops. By involving the local patient organisation and healthcare professionals from the start, and empowering them to become a WFH member, we’re ensuring the impact of what we do lasts in the long-term.”

Building skills across borders

To build the skills of the local Rwandan team, Prof de Moerloose introduced them to the Centre de Traitement de l’Hémophilie Hôtel Dieu in Nantes, France. Supported by NNHF, three healthcare professionals and a representative from the patient organisation travelled from Rwanda to undertake training and experience sharing in Nantes. The NNHF project also provided laboratory equipment to the team in Kigali to begin the process of establishing quality diagnosis.

Throughout all these activities, Prof de Moerloose emphasises that it is the people and vision behind the partnering organisations that lead to success: “The quality for people involved in these types of projects are multiple, but it’s a vision of solidarity. You need to have people who are open but also realistic. In French, we say to be an active pessimist – I mean to be realistic about what you can reach, but despite the difficulties, to commit yourself to the long-lasting impact – knowing that when you start you have to run.”