As part of the next steps forward in China, TIF organised a delegation visit between the 13th and 18th of May 2016 to Guangxi and Hainan provinces, in collaboration with the TCF. The main focus of the TIF delegation, comprising Dr Michael Angastiniotis (TIF medical advisor) and Prof Antonio Piga (director of the Turin Thalassaemia Centre), was to:
• visit existing services in Guangxi and Hainan provinces in order to establish the level of care currently
available (from primary to tertiary care);
• offer expert advice on the development of centres of excellence for thalassaemia management (as per the
signed agreement of collaboration in December 2015);
• promote the establishment of a network of support for secondary centres;
• meet with patients with a view to reporting their concerns, and;
• to sign a strategic cooperation memorandum for the further promotion of thalassaemia prevention and management between the China Thalassaemia Alliance, the Beijing Normal University China Philanthropy Research Institute (CPRI), and the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) across China, in order to fulfill a plan for the development of services in the country; to this effect, CPRI has agreed to host (act as) the TIF China liaison office.
TIF’s activities in China, including the previous delegation visits to the country, the collaboration between TIF and many officials of the provincial and central government level, and very importantly with the Family Planning Bureau of China since early 2010, have led to significant advances in the area of prevention in the Guangxi and Guangdong provinces. Gradually, all other affected provinces, which are mainly in the South of China, are following their example and are setting up their own programmes. Officials and NGOs have now turned their focus on instigating improvements in patient care, and with the signed strategic agreement between TIF and the newly founded Thalassaemia Chinese Federation (TCF) (December 2015), TIF proceeded to build on policies that are focused on materialising the plan of agreed activities, aiming to promote of the quality of healthcare services and by extent of the health and quality of life of thalassaemia patients.