Cover Image
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

Four questions about AID

Four questions are often asked about aid projects in developing countries, especially in Africa. The first is:

- who is going to do it? the second is:
- where did the money go? the third is:
- is this kind of activity applicable to other countries (so the value is multiplied) the fourth is:
- is it sustainable, that is, how will it continue when and if the foreign aid money comes to an end?

In the case of Uganda's blood transfusion service (unlike many other aid projects, sadly) these questions can be answered. There were and are trained and dedicated people to do the work. You can see where the money went, just by going and looking at the buildings, equipment, people and blood supplies. Much has been learnt by other countries from the Uganda experience (although, sadly again, many still do not have any equivalent safe blood supply). The fourth question, about long-term sustainability, is discussed in detail in this volume, and everyone knows that it will not be an easy question to answer. Safe blood can look expensive when compared to the total health budget of a poor country, especially a country forming part of what is regarded as the epicentre of the world AIDS epidemic.

The project has demonstrated that the people of Uganda have the human will and government commitment to develop an internationally acclaimed technical programme. But how far can the government and people of Uganda be expected to take over the full costs of it, and when? The UBTS seems destined to become a test, both of Uganda's long-term priorities in achieving better health, and of donors' long-term commitment to supporting this effort. For this reason, if for no other, the achievements (and problems) of the UBTS will continue to be under scrutiny, both by the international community and, not least, by the Ugandan taxpayer. That is why this record of how it all came about and what was done, and why, is of wide interest, far outside Uganda and far outside the immediate circle of blood transfusion and medical experts.