Welcome to the World Apheresis Association
On September 2022, during the very successful and scientifically interesting 17th international congress of the World Apheresis Association, I took over the office of President of the WAA from Dr. Fevzi Altuntas. First of all I’d like to thank Dr. Altuntas for his work as president, all his successful efforts to promote our association, and organization of the successful meeting in Istanbul in 2022.
In my almost 40 years working in the field, I was so lucky to be able to make my hobby part of my work. Apheresis; apheresis in donors and patients. Another hobby is sharing my knowledge of apheresis, blood banking and transfusion medicine with colleagues all over the world and using my knowledge to adapt the way of working in donor and patient care, with joy in working for clinicians and nurses.
The WAA or in full words, the World Apheresis Association. To my eyes, the world is more than the North America’s and Western Europe. The world means Africa, Mid and South America, Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe, not only the high income countries, but also the low and middle income countries. It’s my pleasure to see that in the last few years more and more associations from middle income countries became members of WAA. Last year, Yayasan Laskar Aferesis Berbagi (an apheresis blood donor association) based in Jakarta Indonesia, became a member of the WAA. To my eye an important development, since apheresis not only involves patient apheresis but also donor apheresis. Donor apheresis involves the collection of CD34 or CD3 positive cells, but also plasma and platelet apheresis of the blood donor. Don’t forget that donor apheresis is overwhelming in number compared to therapeutic apheresis procedures, and plasmapheresis in donors is the most important source of plasma derived medication.
There is a worldwide shortage of immunoglobulins and albumin. Together with an increased use in high income countries and substantially higher needs in middle and also in low income countries, globally many countries including low and middle income countries need to start or expand the collection of plasma by apheresis techniques, as said, donor apheresis is therefore important.
It’s a pleasure for me to announce that the 18th International Congress of the World Apheresis Association is going to be held on September 11-14, 2024 in Yogyakarta Indonesia. It will be a joint meeting of the WAA with the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Gadjah Mada / Dr Sardjito Hospital Yogyakarta, the Indonesian Association of Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the Indonesian Association of Transfusion Medicine, the Indonesian Association of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, Yayasan Laskar Apheresis Berbagi, the Indonesian Association of Neurology (TBC) and the Indonesian Association of Transplantation (TBC). At present, the scientific program is being organized by the Scientific Committee. Exciting, because this will be the first WAA meeting in the South-East Pacific region, since the 8th congress in Australia in 2000. An important part of the scientific program will cover donor apheresis and the clinical applications of the components derived during the apheresis procedure, e.g. plasma derived medication and platelets. Besides this, an extensive educational program will be organized for both allied health professionals and with physicians interested in apheresis. We all hope that the meeting will be well attended and successful with both scientific and social value to our members and guests. I hope to present you the with concept program soon and welcome you in September 2024 to the wonderful Yogyakarta.
Hans Vrielink, MD, PhD
SAVE THE DATE! The World Apheresis Association’s next International Congress will be held September 11th – 14th, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.