It was a wonderful opportunity to network with local and international colleagues on 18-21 November, as experts in blood transfusion congregated at the CTICC for the 34th Regional International Society for Blood Transfusion (ISBT) Congress, jointly hosted by the South African Society for Blood Transfusion (SASBT) and the ISBT. The congress was well supported with over 800 delegates, and 30 exhibitors and sponsors.

The scientific session topics were as follows: regulatory frameworks and haemovigilance, patient blood management (PBM), management of a blood service through a pandemic or disaster, sustainability of blood services in low and middle income countries (LMIC), getting blood to patients quicker, challenges and emerging issues in donor screening, making safe blood accessible, strengthening quality systems, evidence based advances in transfusion therapy, knowledge is power, donors matter, staff matter, ISBT e-learning workshops, emerging and re-emerging donor screening challenges, foetal immunohaematology current developments, making plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMPs) available in LMIC, adding value from donation to transfusion and beyond, unlocking innovation to create a more diverse and sustainable blood supply in Africa, modern approaches to immunohaematology, sustaining the donor base, mentorship – a springboard to research success, plasma fractionation and stepwise access to PDMPs, update on blood group genomics, bugs in blood, good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards and their implication for the safety of blood and blood components, haemoglobinopathies, ethical dilemmas in blood donation, advances in conventional components, eradication due to haemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN), haemovigilance and appropriate blood usage, transfusion-transmitted infectious diseases (TTID) and emerging pathogens/role of blood services in public health. A sizeable poster session was also held.

Delegates braved a windy evening to enjoy good food, music and dancing at the social event held at Cabo Beach Club.

WCBS welcomed many visitors to its trade exhibition stand as delegates were keen to engage and eagerly entered the Find a Blood Buddy competition to stand a chance to win one of 150 WCBS Blood Buddy plush toys up for grabs.

The ISBT Congress provided a unique opportunity for delegates, particularly from the African continent, to broaden their knowledge in the field of blood transfusion.