The Irish Haemophilia Society were twinned with the Haemophilia Association of Bosnia & Herzegovina from 2004 to 2007. This twinning partnership proved to be an excellent collaboration. The World Federation of Hemophilia awarded the Haemophilia Association of Bosnia & Herzegovina and the Irish Haemophilia Society with the ‘2006 Organisation Twin Award”. In a letter received from the World Federation of Hemophilia, Mr. Cesar Garrido (Chair of the Hemophilia Organisation Twinning Committee) said:
“The WFH Hemophilia Organisation Twinning Committee met recently to review the programme and consider reports received from twins around the world. This year, I am delighted to inform you that your Twinning has stood out from an impressive pool of candidates. The committee voted, and it was agreed to present the 2006 Hemophilia Organisation Twin of the Year Award to BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA – IRELAND. We were all impressed by the scope of the activities undertaken in 2006 through your twinning partnership, particularly your lobbying efforts for HTC recognition and increased factor supply, your diversified fundraising activities, the recruitment of new volunteers, and the organisation of the first haemophilia symposium in Bosnia. The award will officially be presented at the Awards Ceremony of the WFH World Congress in Istanbul, Turkey. We hope that this recognition and appreciation will encourage you to carry on your efforts within the haemophilia community. Please accept our congratulations, and pass on our thanks to the many members of your team who support this important activity.”
During the course of the Twinning Programme much was achieved:
- We provided the Haemophilia Association of Bosnia & Herzegovina (H.A.B.H.) and the doctors with draft treatment protocols and guidelines produced by WFH and others, which were very useful in drafting provisional protocols for Bosnia & Herzegovina.
- We supplied H.A.B.H. with information to assist the National Tender for the purchase of factor concentrates and therefore assisted H.A.B.H. in getting and maintaining observer status with the solidarity fund who carry out the tenders.
- We provided product donations.
- We assisted H.A.B.H. in getting some funding from Pharmaceutical companies for events
- We assisted H.A.B.H. administratively by purchasing essential equipment: fax, computer, printer, phone line.
- We assisted H.A.B.H. in the development of their organisational capacity. Despite the fact that a lot of the burden still falls on the President and the Board of the H.A.B.H., their ability to organise events effectively is admirable.
- Training was provided on Action Planning in 2005 and Advocacy in 2006.
- Initial meetings of both mothers and fathers groups were held during an I.H.S. visit.
- Training in Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions were organised with a visit by Emma Sherlock, Physiotherapist, St. James\’s Hospital.
- Several Bosnian children benefited from a visit to Barretstown Castle camp.
- Working jointly on a 3 to 4-year Action Plan for the twinning programme with a country whose resources and current reality are so different from Ireland, was a great learning opportunity for the Irish participants.
- We have also benefited, in particular from their courage, their perseverance and their example. When members of the H.A.B.H. board spoke at an I.H.S. AGM and met with our members, it broadened our member\’s view of haemophilia and assisted them in putting their own lives and experiences in context.
- We learned that nationality, religion or economic reality should never be allowed to be a barrier to friendship, empathy and humour.
In 2006 the WFH awarded Ireland and Bosnia & Herzegovina with the \’Twin of the Year Award\’ which was presented to the I.H.S. at the WFH World Congress in Turkey in 2008.
Much work remains to be done and the H.A.B.H. are still working to achieve official recognition for a National Treatment Centre in Sarajevo, however, the work and our friendship will endure.