The meeting commenced with the official opening ceremony for the newly expanded National Sickle Cell Disease Centre by the Government of the Republic of Benin, with opening remarks by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. This was followed by presentations by Cherif Rahimy (Benin), Alvin Zipursky (Canada), Jacques Elion (France) and George Buchanan (USA) introducing the general audience to the problem of SCD and the work that the meeting participants would be doing to explore issues and plan for a Global Sickle Cell Disease Network.
The first plenary session, co-chaired by Isaac Odame (Canada) and Alvin Zipursky (Canada), began with an introduction, by Dr. Odame, to the work to be done during the session. This was followed by a series of presentations and a group discussion. The session consisted of:
Following these presentations, a group discussion explored the state of the art knowledge as well as information gaps relating to the above topics. The group considered how global research partnerships might best study the relevant issues and implement programs to improve patient care.
During this session, all attendees broke into small study groups, based on interest and expertise, focused on the topics discussed in the first plenary session. Each group was charged (by Dr. Zipursky) with determining how best to research the topic which they were considering and how best to implement needed programs in developing regions.
After the meeting of the small study groups, all attendees reassembled for a plenary session to share their conclusions and recommendations.
For information on the study groups, refer to the right side links.
This session, chaired by George Buchanan (USA), highlighted the steps that were necessary to develop a SCD Centre in a low-income country as well as problems that have been encountered. Presentations were made by:
Several participants also offered comments regarding their own experiences.
Small study groups made up of participants from low, middle and high income countries met to consider collaborations for the identification, care and study of patients with SCD in low income countries. The groups also discussed the role of the Global Sickle Cell Disease Network in facilitating these collaborations. The Co-Chairs of the Small Groups were: