Russian IHTC trains fellows for the future of hemophilia care

With the establishment of the Russian international hemophilia treatment centre (IHTC) in February 2010, specialized training to build the capacity and knowledge of hemophilia care professionals in the Commonwealth of Independent States is now available in the Russian language.

The Russian IHTC is comprised of three hemophilia treatment centres: the National Research Hematology Centre in Moscow, the Moscow Izmailovo Children’s Hematology Centre, and the St. Petersburg Hemophilia Centre. This structure allows the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) to capitalize on the specialties and expertise offered in each of these centres.

Since its establishment, five fellows have been trained including Dr. Azoda Achilova, a young laboratory scientist working at the Tashkent Hemophilia Centre in the capital of Uzbekistan, where she is responsible for performing screening tests for the diagnosis of various hemostatic disorders. She undertook her fellowship at the St. Petersburg Hemophilia Centre under the supervision of Dr. Tatyana Andreeva, head of the centre, and Dr. Nina Klimova, chief of the hemostasis laboratory. Dr. Achilova received four weeks of training on the organization of a hemostasis laboratory and methods for determining factor levels and inhibitors using an automatic analyser. She also learned how to diagnose von Willebrand disease using the Riscocetin CoFactor Activity (VWF:RCo) assay. Since returning from her training, Dr. Achilova has already used the skills she learned to improve the diagnosis of people with bleeding disorders in Uzbekistan, which has included switching from manual diagnosis to the use of a semi-automatic analyser. “My stay in St. Petersburg was pleasant and rewarding. It allowed me to become acquainted with a modern laboratory and new analyzers,” she says. Since her training, 13 new patients with hemophilia have been diagnosed in Uzbekistan. She is planning to share the skills and knowledge she learned with other laboratory professionals through training workshops in all 12 regional labs in the country.

While an experienced and highly trained orthopedic surgeon in his native Azerbaijan, Dr. Natig Aliyev lacked knowledge of the specific particularities of treating patients with hemophilia, making him apprehensive about performing surgical interventions on these patients. However, following his IHTC fellowship at the National Research Hematology Centre in Moscow, headed by Dr. Vladimir Zorenko, Dr. Aliyev feels much more knowledgeable and at ease. “This training was absolutely useful for me. I learned about the specifics of joint replacement and arthroscopy and gained theoretical and practical knowledge on conservative therapy of hemophilic arthropathies. When I return to Azerbaijan, I will start treating arthropathies more actively.”

As is the case with Dr. Achilova and Dr. Aliyev, the establishment of the Russian IHTC has allowed non-English speaking hemophilia care professionals in the Commonwealth of Independent States to receive specialized training not previously available.