Mission accomplished for Héma-Québec: To become a leader in its field

Montréal, October 10, 2006 – Celebrating its 8th birthday on September 28, Héma-Québec had bestowed a vision upon itself when it was created: to become a leader in its field by 2005. It is from that angle that Héma-Québec has released its annual report for 2005-2006. Reviewing its accomplishments, one cannot help but notice that Héma-Québec stood out in its field, thus achieving its initial goal, in Canada as well as in North America.

“Not only are we very proud of our achievements, but also of the fact that, in such a short time, we’ve become an organization that offers all Quebecers a reliable service and safe products,” stated Dr. Francine Décary, Chief Executive Officer of Héma-Québec.

“Héma-Québec did not get where it is today alone: Several partners contributed to its growth and continue to play an essential role. Donors, volunteers, employees, directors, hospitals, government agencies, associations, businesses, suppliers, universities and the media are all a part of our impressive network of partners whose invaluable contribution has helped us achieve our mission,” explained Dr. Décary.

Highlights from the 2005-2006 Annual Report
Donor and recipient safety: A constant concern
The safety of the collective blood supply remains Héma-Québec’s main priority. The organization makes every effort to supply safe, top-quality products to the people of Québec. During 2005 2006, several measures were implemented and numerous projects launched to guarantee and improve the quality of the blood supply.

Among others, these measures included the revision of the donor selection criterion related to malaria, the change to the exclusion period for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, bacterial detection for all platelet components, implementation of the requirements of the Blood and Blood Components Standard of the Canadian Standards Association, maintenance of the Health Canada operating license, and renewal of accreditation from the American Association of Blood Banks.

Adequate products to meet patients’ needs
In 2005-2006, 304,026 people gave blood at 3,267 blood drives held throughout Québec, including at the GLOBULE Blood Donor Centres, and during the 147 outings by the GLOBULE mobile blood donation unit. Of these people, 34,136 (or 11.2%) were first-time donors. All donations were tested and processed, resulting in 440,390 labile products for delivery to hospitals, including packed red cells, platelets, plasma products and cryoprecipitates.

Like blood, human tissue donated for transplantation helps improve the lives of thousands of children and adults. Tissue donation is an act of immeasurable generosity by the donor and an extremely courageous gesture by the family. In 2005-2006, human tissues were collected from 83 donors and 243 bone grafts distributed to hospitals.

Moreover, since the creation of the Public Cord Blood Bank, 1,158 mothers have registered in the program, 868 have qualified, 626 umbilical cords have been collected and 153 have been processed. Donated umbilical cord blood is an innovative source of hematopoietic stem cells.

Héma-Québec’s financial statements also attest to strict management practices. Héma-Québec’s objective is to keep the cost of a unit of packed red cells as low as possible, an objective it has managed to achieve thanks to savings made in all activity sectors, leading to a 5.9% cost reduction compared to the previous year.

Last fall, Héma-Québec’s hard work earned Francine Décary the Prix Armand-Frappier, one of the prestigious Prix du Québec. This award represents the highest distinction granted by the Québec government for the creation or development of research institutions or for the administration and promotion of research. Although Dr. Décary was granted this award personally, she considers the honour as a collective reward.

A new vision
The past year was marked by a review of the vision statement that will guide all of the organization’s activities over the next five years. Through its Vision 2005-2010, which reads as follows: “Héma-Québec is driven by the commitment, support and recognition of its employees as well as the trust of its partners to remain the standard of quality and innovation with respect to the safe procurement of blood products, human tissues and stem cells,” the Québec supplier is maintaining an emphasis on its products and services, while giving added focus to the importance of its human capital.