|Safe Blood in Developing Countries - The Lessons from Uganda (EC, 1995, 151 p.)|
|Section Three - The story of the Uganda blood transfusion service|
|Chapter Four - How the European commission got involved|
The early months of 1987 were a period of intense activity in launching and developing the campaign against HIV/AIDS, both globally, and at the European level, and in Uganda.
- in February 1987, what became known as the Global Programme on AIDS (GPA) was set up in Geneva, under the wing of the World Health Organisation, to co-ordinate the world's reaction to the gathering international HIV epidemic: this followed a resolution passed by the WHO assembly in May the previous year
- in February 1987, the then vice-president of the European Commission, the late Lorenzo Natali, took what was then an unprecedented step for the EC and sent a landmark memorandum to all ACP states (African, Caribbean and Pacific) who had signed the Second Lomonvention on European aid to developing countries, and invited them at an assembly in Arusha, Tanzania, to take part in an EC/ACP AIDS control programme
- the new government of Uganda, which had quickly recognised and openly acknowledged its AIDS problem, in January/February 1987 issued a call for international assistance for its newly created AIDS control programme. The contribution of the EC was unprecedented in the sense that the Commission had no tradition of direct intervention in specific health programmes aimed at the control of specific diseases. But there was a desperate need. So in his memorandum, Commissioner Natali said:
'Rapid action using quick and flexible procedures is necessary in view of the priority and complexity of the AIDS problem... the programme is intended as an identifiable EC contribution to the international effort on AIDS control.' Almost all ACP countries responded to this initiative (later extended to all developing countries) and it remains unique in the history of the EC. To implement it, the EC in 1987 set up a new organisation, the AIDS Task Force, to recommend and evaluate projects. Since then, this effort has grown into a special Health and AIDS Unit within the Commission, for which the ATF acts as technical support. But what exactly should the EC and its AIDS Task Force, actually do?