On Sunday 3rd of September, 2023, a team from Vanderbilt University Medical Centre (VUMC), Tennessee, USA, arrived in Nigeria to assess the SCFN/BMT Centre’s preparedness for bone marrow transplants.
The VUMC team comprising five medical experts was led by Professor Adetola Kassim, Head, Centre of Excellence for Sickle Cell Disease, Vanderbilt University, as well as a distinguished and internationally-renowned Professor of Medicine, Haematology and Oncology. Other members of the team were Mrs. Karina Wilkerson (BMT Specialist Nurse), Mrs. Mary Ellen Mournout (Apheresis Nurse Specialist), Mr Antoine Wilkerson (Database Developer) and Mr Olin Thomas Gary (Stem Cell Processing Specialist).
The main purpose of the team’s visit to the SCFN/LUTH BMT Centre was to carry out a dry run of the Bone Marrow Transplant procedure in order to assess the BMT Centre’s preparedness for an actual transplantation. During the 2-week period, simulation exercises of transplant processes were carried out on the
The dry-run ensured that the entire team was well-prepared and confident to handle all aspects of the bone marrow transplantation from the pre-transplant evaluation to the post-transplant care.
Earlier in the visit, the team had paid a courtesy call on Professor Wasiu Lanre Adeyemo, the Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) who expressed gratitude to Professor Olu Akinyanju, the Founder of Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria, for his vision in initiating the Bone Marrow Transplantation Programme in line with LUTH’s objectives. He also commended Dr. Annette Akinsete for her unwavering commitment to the project’s success. Prof. Adeyemo also acknowledged Prof. Kassim and VUMC’s support in ensuring that personnel are well trained through the Knowledge Transfer Programme being provided by the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in their capacity as Technical Partner in the tripartite agreement. He pledged commitment to providing the needed support within his power to ensure the BMT Programme succeeds and is sustained.