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close this bookSafe Blood in Developing Countries - The Lessons from Uganda (EC, 1995, 151 p.)
close this folderSection Three - The story of the Uganda blood transfusion service
close this folderChapter Four - How the European commission got involved
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDr Lieve Fransen's report
View the documentThe 1987 plan
View the documentThe 1987 starting position
View the documentThe role of the Red Cross

The role of the Red Cross

At the 1987 donors meeting previously referred to, it was assumed that the Uganda Red Cross would resume much of its historical importance in recruiting blood donors. Unfortunately times had changed. The middle class and business community, which had been the mainstay of the URCS donor programme before the time of troubles, had become disenchanted with the idea of volunteering to donate and were concerned with the risk to health, psyche and privacy (as they saw it) that blood donation in the era of the AIDS epidemic might entail.

The URCS was unable to finance projects from its own national resources and was therefore dependant upon external funding. Requests were made for external funding for mobilisation and organisation of blood donation, but no funding had been given. So the first major decision was that the Nakasero Blood Bank would have to develop its own donor recruiting team and policies.

Miss Judith Goddard (nearest camera), the current EC technical assistant to the UBTS, on a visit to Nakaseke Hospital, Uganda.

The longer-run position became that the Red Cross gave its name and authority to the EC-supported donor recruitment programme carried out by the blood bank - a very useful asset - and did have on its staff several experts trained in blood donor recruitment. But these experts were also expected to give their time to other AIDS-related work for which the Uganda Red Cross did manage to raise external funding. So it came about that responsibility for virtually the whole blood transfusion project fell to the EC and the Nakasero blood bank.