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NEWS | June 21, 2024

Forging a Lifeline: U.S. and Philippine Medical Leaders Enhance Blood Programs through Collaboration

Courtesy story, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) Surgeon Office and the Armed Forces of the Philippines—Health Service Command (AFP-HSC), held the first blood program subject matter exchange between the U.S. military and the Philippines from May 13-15 in Manila.

The three-day exchange focused on enhancing blood programs and forging stronger ties with critical Philippine medical organizations by sharing best practices, evaluating challenges and exploring opportunities for collaboration in blood programs and transfusion medicine. By leveraging collective expertise and resources, the goal of the program is to enhance capabilities to better provide safe and adequate blood products to service members, their families and local communities.

The initiative was led by Lt. Cmdr. Akakpossa Ananou, the USINDOPACOM Joint Blood Program Officer, and included U.S. service members: U.S. Army MAJ Nekkeya Glover, the 18th Medical Command blood consultant; U.S. Army MAJ Sarah Matthews, U.S. Forces Korea Area Joint Blood Program Officer; and U.S. Navy Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Joseph, the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group Liaison Officer.

It was coordinated with Philippine Army Maj. Jennifer Mateo, who heads the pathology and laboratory department at the Victoriano Luna Medical Center (VLMC) in Manila, and brought together the AFP-HSC, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Health Service Command, and the San Lazaro Hospital.

Maj. Mateo said the event was "a transformative journey towards achieving a common goal – blood interoperability and sustainability."

Over 36 participants delved into various aspects of blood program management, including donor recruitment, blood collection, testing, storage and distribution. The open dialogue facilitated a transfer of ideas, allowing both sides to learn from each other's experiences and pave the way for future cooperation.

The team also conducted engagements with key Philippine leaders, including Brig. Gen. Fatima Navarro, the AFP Surgeon General, Police Brig. General Jezebel Medina, the PNP Health Service Director, Col. Jonna Dalaguit, Chief of VLMC, Dr. Iftizar Haron and Dr. Dinarazad Miranda from the San Lazaro Hospital. These high-level discussions focused on strategic priorities, resource allocation and developing robust blood programs to enhance operational readiness and save lives during emergencies and contingencies.

​The initiative represents a significant step toward ensuring blood product availability in the Indo-Pacific region for humanitarian and disaster relief, and underscores the commitment of both nations to fostering closer collaboration in blood planning and management.

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