The Agence carries out cooperation activities at the request of the authorities of the country in question, of the French Foreign Office or of such international organisations as the WHO, the European Union and the Council of Europe. The cooperation is based on institutional partnerships with for instance a national agency or the local ministry of health. The first objective is always the introduction of a legal and ethical framework in the country. Then priority is given to the development of kidney transplants and tissue transplants because of the needs, the greater autonomy of kidney transplantation teams and the possibility of living kidney donations.
In practice, these activities consist of teams of French experts providing consultancy and training locally and invitations to France for visits and internships for professionals from the countries. The projects are supported by external funding, primarily from the French Foreign Office and France’s Development Agency.
Major projects currently in progress concern :
North Africa and the Mediterranean region
Since 2003, the Agence de la biomédecine has participated in organising France-Maghreb colloquiums on organ, tissue and cell transplants. These are held every two years alternatively in France and North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria). The theme of the most recent, held in Nice in March 2012, was : “What prospects for transplantations in North Africa ?” ; the next colloquium is scheduled for 2014 in Morocco. The Agence de la biomédecine also supports south-south cooperation between North African countries, particularly the training of North African coordinators organised by Tunisia in 2010 and 2012, with participants from Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.
Alongside this, the Agence is taking part in the work of the MTN (Mediterranean Transplant Network), which is chaired by Italy. Since 2008, it has held meetings twice a year for the countries of the Mediterranean Basin on topics relating to transplantation and procurement from living and deceased donors.
Support for the development of transplantations in Morocco is part of a broad four-year project which began in 2008 and is run by the hospitals and ambulatory care department of the Moroccan ministry of health. The Agence de la biomédecine has been given responsibility for technical management (mobilisation of experts, organisation of internships in France) and financial management of the project.
In the framework of a three-year agreement signed in 2010 with the National Centre for the Promotion of Organ Transplantations (CNPTO), the Agence de la biomédecine is supporting the implementation of coordination between hospitals for organ and tissue procurement in Tunisia through training. It is also supporting the development of a tissue bank.
In 2009 and 2010, the Agence de la biomédecine collaborated with the Algerian ministry of health on the organisation of the 4th France-Maghreb colloquium. It provided support to the project for the creation of a national transplant agency, which was officially set up in 2012 and with which exchanges are under way.
In order to continue bilateral cooperation that has been in force for several years, the Agence de la biomédecine set up a “twinning” project in 2011 with its Bulgarian counterpart for a three-year period as part of the Accord joint action (a European project). The activities covered include the introduction of an organisation for organ and tissue procurement, the development of a system for monitoring and evaluating transplantations and procurement, and support for paediatric kidney transplants.
Institutional cooperation with Moldova began with the creation of a national transplant agency in the country in June 2010. To sustain this cooperation, mainly dedicated to implementing coordination systems for organ procurement, the Moldovan Agency signed a three-year framework agreement with the Agence de la biomédecine in April 2011, on the occasion of the visit of a delegation from Moldova.
The Black Sea region
In the context of its involvement in the Council of Europe’s Committee on Organ Transplantation (CD-P-TO), the Agence de la biomédecine took part in developing a support project for countries in the Black Sea region (Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) for the development of transplantation. It was launched in July 2011 for a period of three years. As a member of the steering committee for this project, the Agence is responsible for evaluating needs for the development of transplants in three countries : Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
The Agence provides support to the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, especially Senegal, where it helped to draft a law on transplantation. It assigns experts to countries at the request of the WHO, for the drafting of a law in Mauritius, for instance.