By Michelle Vermeulen

Over 50 of our staff members got the opportunity to attend the 36th South African National Transfusion Congress held at the Durban International Convention Centre between the 22-25th of August 2022.

The congress aims to provide delegates with a platform to gain and share knowledge about scientific developments as well as network with like-minded professionals in the industry. This year’s congress was packed with a comprehensive 3-day programme which gave delegates, access to sought-after international and national speakers who are leaders in their area.

As a Service, we submitted 22 abstracts; these were approved and presented; 9 were oral presentations, and 13 were posters.

There were numerous highlights, which I am sure would differ for each delegate. The ones that stood out for me were the high caliber of workshop presentations we could choose from on day 1 which ranged from ‘Building resilience and strategies to prevent burn-out’, to ‘Communicating with impact’ to ‘The future of digital marketing’. Over the next few days, we gained valuable insights from many speakers, including Dr Graham Sher, Chief Executive Officer at the Canadian Blood Services, and Dr Christian Erikstrup, Chair Professor of Clinical Immunology, Consultant, and Head of Blood Production at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.  There was also Professor Mark Sonderup, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and Division of Hepatology at Groote Schuur Hospital and Professor Vernon Louw, Chair and Head of the Division of Clinical Haematology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital. The list does not stop there, together we had over 10 main national and international speakers, and over 60 presentations from blood services staff such as us, the South African National Blood Service, and the Namibian Blood Service. There were over 20 posters we could engage with.

During our lunch sessions, we had the privilege of engaging with exhibitors, over 20 of them, many of whom are our suppliers and provide us with the tools and machines we need to provide safe, sustainable blood to patients.

And of course, many of my colleagues would agree that 1 of our highlights must have been the winning of the coveted singing contest trophy (for the 2nd time in a row I might add) an event which brings much laughter (and healthy competition) to the congress.

The next big congress we are looking forward to is the International Society of Blood Transfusion Congress to be held in Cape Town between 18-21 November 2023.