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NEWS | Oct. 31, 2018

Regional Health Command-Pacific Supports Blood Safety Program in Cambodia

By Emily Yeh RHC-P Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- A team of medical professionals from Regional Health Command-Pacific's medical treatment facilities and units, in partnership with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the U.S. Army in the Pacific, recently supported a blood safety global health engagement in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Lt. Col. Teresa Terry, Chief, Clinical Laboratory and Blood Operations, 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) has been overseeing this humanitarian assistance and disaster relief health engagement effort.

"A focus of the Blood Safety Program in Cambodia is to support vital lifesaving efforts through the improvement of blood product collection, manufacturing and storage," said Terry.

This recent mission in Cambodia marks the grand opening of two blood donor centers, and paves the way for the next step, which is the accreditation of the facilities. During the trip another milestone was achieved with the help of the first volunteer blood donors, where blood was collected at these new facilities.

"The highlight for this mission was the completion of the last two out of five U.S. Indo-PACOM funded Blood Transfusion Centers in Cambodia," said Terry. "The completion of this phase of the project culminated with a ribbon cutting event which was attended by the Cambodia Ministry of Health and representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia," Terry added.

Providing a safe and secure blood supply while improving quality processes with Cambodian blood bank laboratory staff was also a key phase of this project.

"Lt. Col. Terry and I accomplished another phase of this project which included standardization and validation of equipment for new and relocated instruments used for blood collection," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Timberlake, Dept. of Pathology, Madigan.

The overall effort from the entire team was a contribution to the international community and went towards building the host nation's biosecurity capacity as well as a sustainable blood program to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

As for Terry, the opportunity to improve anyone's quality of life, and promote goodwill is a life changing experience.
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