Algerian and Mali twins move progress forward in Africa

In 2016, the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) Twinning Program kicked off an exciting new twinning collaboration between Algeria and Mali. The Algeria and Mali Twinning is uncommon because unlike traditional twins where a developed country is paired with a developing one, in this case both countries are developing nations.

While the Hemophilia Organization Twinning (HOT) between the two associations officially began in 2016, the history between the two organizations actually began earlier. In 2015, Latifa Lamhene—President of the Algerian Hemophilia Association (ANHA)—travelled to Mali with support from the WFH Advocacy in Action program to help the bleeding disorders community there establish a hemophilia association. She provided a two-day training workshop on how to run a hemophilia association, and held practical workshops on different aspects of hemophilia care. From these initial events, the idea of a formal Twinning partnership began to form, and in 2016, the Algeria and Mali Twinning was presented to the Middle East & Western Africa Regional Manager at the WFH 2016 World Congress where it went through an official approval process.

The Algeria and Mali twins are now working hard to share knowledge and improve care for patients in both countries. In Mali, the Twinning is focusing on building the capacity of the Mali Hemophilia Association (AMALHEC) and helping it advocate for solutions to ensure sustainable access to treatment in a country with resource challenges. The twins held discussions with the Ministry of Health in Mali to press for the availability of treatment products—such as clotting factor concentrates (CFCs) and safe fresh frozen plasma—for use in emergency cases and for the treatment of undiagnosed bleeding disorders. Through two twinning visits in 2017, ANHA has helped AMALHEC learn how to better manage the NMO, how to develop communication tools, and how to run an advocacy campaign.

The Algerian Hemophilia Association is also making significant progress in their country, with the aim of sharing their knowledge with their twin. One of ANHA’s major achievements is pioneering an endeavour, in partnership with medical professionals in Algeria, to establish a guide for prophylaxis for hemophilia patients. Through the efforts of ANHA and its national partners, Algeria was among the first countries in the eastern Mediterranean region to accomplish this essential undertaking. The country has also been able to better plan their use of factor products in order to reduce out-of-stock issues.

The Algeria and Mali Twinning is an excellent example of two countries leveraging an existing relationship into an even more productive formal collaboration. Their Twinning will surely provide patients in their countries with a better quality of life in the near future.