The 1st International Congress of Azerbaijani Haematology Specialists, held on 22 – 24 May 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan was organized by the Republican Thalassaemia Centre, with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and was attended by over 900 healthcare professionals and patient representatives. Τhe entire spectrum of haematology, thalassaemia and sickle cell disease was at the forefront of discussion at the keynote scientific session.
TIF was invited to attend the Congress and participate with presentations on the Quality of Services (Dr Michael Angastiniotis, TIF Medical Advisor) and the Patients Perspective (Mr Ahmet Varoğlu, Member of TIF Patient Advocates Group, Cyprus).
During their stay in Baku, the TIF representatives had the opportunity to visit the Thalassaemia Centre and to meet with patients from the Savab Dunyasi Association, a TIF Full Member, and the Azeri Thalassaemia Federation to discuss the situation in Azerbaijan following a previous visit of TIF in 2017. Concerns regarding treatment were discussed, in addition to the understaffing of the Thalassaemia Centre.
In addition, TIF representatives were invited to join a visit by Ms Leyla Aliyeva (daughter of the President of Azerbaijan and Vice – President of the Heyder Aliyev Foundation) to the Haematology Institute, which includes the National Blood Bank. The molecular department of the Institute has characterized the molecular spectrum of thalassaemia in the country and performs prenatal diagnosis by amniocentesis.