|Safe Blood in Developing Countries - The Lessons from Uganda (EC, 1995, 151 p.)|
|Section One - Introduction and summary|
|Chapter One - Safe blood and HIV/AIDS: The Uganda achievement|
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.