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close this bookSafe Blood in Developing Countries - The Lessons from Uganda (EC, 1995, 151 p.)
close this folderSection One - Introduction and summary
close this folderChapter One - Safe blood and HIV/AIDS: The Uganda achievement
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe tragedy of the haemophiliacs
View the documentInfections carried by blood
View the documentThe unique features of Africa
View the documentThe global blood safety initiative
View the documentThe Uganda blood transfusion service: A portrait
View the documentThe wider contribution of the UBTS
View the documentThe view from an up-country hospital
View the documentThe matter of costs
View the documentThe dynamics of the project
View the documentA complex organisation
View the documentA view from Mulago hospital, Kampala
View the documentFour questions about AID
View the documentThe first visit for the EC
View the documentDr John Watson-Williams enters the scene

A view from Mulago hospital, Kampala

- communication from Mrs Catherine Kisumba

'Rehabilitating Nakasero Blood Bank was to me the best thing that has been achieved in Uganda after the Liberation War of 1986. Prior to that the general method of collecting blood in Mulago Hospital was to either ask relatives of patients to donate blood or for the hospital staff to hurriedly recruit blood donors from public places like Kampala taxi park (at a fee). The blood was then sold to the patient or his relatives in the hospital. 'In most cases there was no time to screen this blood, neither was there any system of screening for HIV. We were all at risk in case of the possibility of getting involved in, say, a motor accident and having to be rushed to a hospital and given a blood transfusion.

'When Dr. Watson-Williams embarked on the job of rehabilitating Nakasero Blood Bank, the problems were numerous, and seemed insurmountable:

a) the building was rotten, and the formerly well trained staff had dispersed.

b) the public attitude towards donating blood had been negative. There was a general fear that giving blood would result in shortage of blood in the body and therefore would be harmful to one's health.

c) most people were afraid of being tested for AIDS in case they were infected, and were also afraid of being exposed and shunned by their friends should they be found to be HIV positive. Therefore the method of protecting the donors' identities was crucial.

'In spite of these problems plus other numerous logistic problems which are typical of the developing world, Nakasero Blood Bank was not only rehabilitated but also the systems that had been put in place by the time Dr. Watson-Williams left the country ensured continuity of providing safe blood to most hospitals in the country.'