|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|
Nevertheless, the UBTS has been forced to develop a complex organisation to deal with its problem in Uganda. The main characteristics of this (explored in detail later in this volume) are:
1. recruitment of a core group of unpaid, volunteer, repeating blood donors; in other words, people who can be relied upon to give blood regularly that is HIV-free, to replace the old paid and high-risk blood donors. This cuts down the wastage (contaminated blood has to be destroyed), the risks to hospital patients, and the costs. Before the Uganda project, many people believed that a voluntary system of blood donation was not possible in Africa.
2. systematic training of staff, so that public trust in the blood test results is high.
3. a central co-ordinating organisation, so that minimum standards and quality control can be defined and enforced, and scarce skills can be best used.
4. a complex web of transport arrangements, involving the UBTS's own road transport, public bus and taxi services, post office vans, and local air services, to overcome both poor local roads and security problems.
5. development of other sources of income, in addition to the EC's external funding, so that the UBTS has some degree of financial independence and can look ahead to the day when the Uganda government will be expected to take a larger share of the financial responsibility.
6. as mentioned, the extensive HIV education efforts that accompany the recruitment of blood donors.
7. the training of clinical staff in the appropriate use of blood, that is, to teach them when blood transfusion is really necessary, and when it is not. The lessons learnt 'on the ground' during the rehabilitation of the UBTS made a large contribution to the more theoretical efforts of the Global Blood Safety Initiative (GBSI), set up by the World Health Organisation, the Red Cross and others, to define the needs, methods and standards for safe blood world-wide.