The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was established in 1989 with 12 member countries. In the intervening years the membership has increased to 21 countries. APEC’s primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
The APEC structure includes a Committee on Trade and Investment, which oversees a Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF). Innovation is critical as APEC economies grow, their Human Development Index increases and their populations seek improved health, longevity and management of infectious and chronic diseases. The LSIF is a coalition of three sectors: Industry, Government and Academia. In recent years, the sustainability, adequacy and safety of blood has gained LSIF interest as demand for safe blood and blood products increases in APEC countries. In 2014, LSIF announced the APEC 2020 Blood Supply Chain Roadmap following policy discussions at a workshop in Manila, The Philippines. “Emphasis is on building the capacity of blood services, infrastructure and governance, and promoting international blood safety and quality standards in APEC economies, in coordination with the private sector” . The overarching goal of the Roadmap is “to improve the safety and sustainability of the blood supply in APEC economies through cross-sectoral, multi-disciplinary, coordinated & collaborative approaches”
The Partnership Training Network (PTN) was established to achieve these goals as it was recognised that coordinated, country by country training and mentorship and regional workshops would be most likely to deliver the Roadmap’s proposed outcomes. The PTN has the LSIF at its centre, institutional members including AABB (Co Chair), the US Department of State (Co Chair and Project Overseer), Pan American Health Organization, International Society of Blood Transfusion, Asia Pacific Blood Network, and an Industry Coalition member. Heads of Blood Establishments from nine of the APEC economies are on the PTN Advisory Board.
Since the announcement of the Roadmap in 2014, several milestones have been achieved:
- Endorsement of the Roadmap by APEC ministries has been obtained
- The 2nd APEC Blood Policy Forum (California, October 2015) heard feedback on progress and discussed challenges and solutions for improving the quality and safety of blood and blood products in APEC countries
- The 3rd Policy Forum (Hanoi, December 2016) focused on Leadership Development in Blood Establishments
- The 1st PTN Workshop was held (Peru, June 2016) with the theme “Embracing Quality Standards”
- A baseline assessment of five major Blood Establishments in Vietnam was undertaken (November – December, 2016)
- The 2nd PTN Workshop (Hanoi, December 2016) focused on “Leadership’s Role in Advancing Good Manufacturing Practice in Blood Centers”
The 2nd PTN Workshop was hosted by Vietnam’s National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion. Approximately 90 delegates attended, mainly from Vietnam, although several other APEC countries were represented including Mexico, Malaysia and Indonesia. There were three facilitators for the Workshop: Ms Vee Armstrong, Independent GMP Consultant; Ms Christine Bales, AABB; and Sue Best, NRL. The Workshop consisted of both seminar and interactive activities, focusing on major elements of Quality Systems and GMP from the perspectives of leadership and systems that need to be in place for effective delivery of safe and consistent blood and blood products.
1 APEC News Release, Manila; 2 October 2014
2 Michael Schmitz, LSIF Planning Group Meeting, Lima, Peru, February 2016