Continuing support to Morocco under the GAP Second Decade Program

During a visit to Morocco in October 2015, World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) president Alain Weill, and a representative from the Moroccan Ministry of Health signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) providing a framework to continue cooperation under the WFH Global Alliance for Progress (GAP) Second Decade Program.

The WFH GAP Program is a ten-year health care development project with the primary goal to increase diagnosis and treatment of people with inherited bleeding disorders. The objective of the second decade within Morocco is to increase the number of identified people with a bleeding disorder and to promote and improve the level of care already achieved within the country.

“Following the MoU, the WFH is committed to continuing the excellent cooperation with our Moroccan partners to bring about positive changes to the bleeding disorders community in this country”, said Weill.

This new agreement is a step further forward in joint cooperation between WFH and the Moroccan Hemophilia Association (MHA) and the Moroccan Ministry of Health, which started in the mid-1990s. Morocco joined the GAP Program in 2012 and completed in 2015.  Over a four-year period, strong collaboration between MHA, the Ministry of Health, and the National Institute for Blood Transfusion has brought a change in hemophilia care, particularly in terms of the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from bleeding disorders.

Notably, a total of 335 new hemophilia patients were identified who are now able to receive comprehensive care services through five fully operational centres in Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, Marrakech, and Oujda; with two additional centres to open soon in Tangiers and Laayoune. Through the organisation of multi-disciplinary training workshops, a total of 170 Moroccan medical professionals, including lab specialists, nurses, hematologists, and physiotherapists, took part in WFH-supported platforms to facilitate dialogue about improving the quality of care and provide exposure on latest treatment options.

The donation of 900,000 International Units (IUs) of clotting factor concentrates by the WFH, along with the increased availability of treatment products provided by the Moroccan Ministry of Health, have helped ensure timely treatment for patients particularly those requiring immediate surgical interventions.

A forward look: The next three years

Despite these achievements, the bleeding disorders community in Morocco continues to face challenges in reaching treatment for all with the patient population. The current GAP project will not only help consolidate the achievements made so far, but also support the implementation of the goals of the National Strategy for Hemophilia Care. The WFH will provide training support to help the establishment of treatment centres in remote areas and small cities which will help ensure better access to hemophilia care for patients from all over the country.

Jaouad Chbehi head of the MHA said, “We are excited about this new phase of collaboration with the WFH. We believe that our two-way exchange about the priorities for care will ensure that programs implemented are fully catered to the needs patients in the country.”

Chbehi added, “Over the years, the WFH has initiated many actions in support of the Moroccan Hemophilia Association. I salute all their exceptional efforts. Among other things, the WFH has supported a highly beneficial organisational twinning between the MHA and the Association française des hémophiles which started in 2013. Thanks to this continuing twinning partnership, and through numerous exchanges with our French twin, the MHA has acquired a wealth of knowledge and built strong interpersonal links geared towards improving the conditions for adults and children suffering from hereditary bleeding disorders in Morocco.”

WFH support, over the next three years will help bring the different stakeholders together to develop national treatment guidelines that will ensure that the treatment received by patients in various hemophilia treatment centres are harmonised. It will also focus on ensuring that information on hemophilia and other bleeding disorders is accessible to patients not only in the cities but also in remote areas. In addition, training provided to lab technicians in various hemophilia treatment centres will focus on improving the accuracy of lab diagnosis so that patients can receive the necessary treatment plans and avoid complications.

All partners involve intend to see this second phase of the GAP Program bring about significant changes for the bleeding disorders community across all areas of Morocco.

The WFH is grateful for the support of the GAP Program from Baxalta, Bayer, Biogen, Biotest, CSL Behring, Grifols, Kedrion, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, and Sobi.