Last year, there were more than 6,000 people on the UK waiting list for organ transplants and 400 of them died while waiting for a transplant, many of them of Black and Asian heritage. A new Government campaign is calling on MPs to encourage BAME members of their community to become organ donors.
A key part of the campaign is a toolkit, Organ Donation: Saving Lives in Black and Asian Communities, which sets out the stark disparity in organ donation rates between Black and Asian people and their white counterparts. The toolkit equips MPs with information about donation rates in their own constituency, myth busters and answers to frequently asked questions to help them use their position in the community to recruit more BAME organ donors. Current donation levels in the UK shows people from Black and Asian minority ethnic groups (BAME) make up 11% of the overall number of donors, but they make up over a third on the transplant list for kidneys, on average, waiting six months longer than white patients.
Leading the campaign is Jackie Doyle Price, Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention. She said: “If you are Black or Asian, you will wait on average half a year longer for a life-saving organ transplant than if you are white. This is partly because there are lower rates of organ donation and partly because if you are Black or Asian you are more likely to suffer from conditions which will require a transplant.”
“If you are Black or Asian, you will wait on average half a year longer for a life-saving organ transplant than if you are white.”
Orin Lewis OBE, Co-founder and Chief Executive of the National BAME Transplant Alliance, said: “As Co-Chair of the NBTA and as a father of a son who passed away from multiple organ failure, I am very pleased that this initiative was launched at the seat of Parliament. It is appropriate that it is the democratically elected leaders of our constituencies who have been given the first chance of showing true leadership to all of their populace, especially those from the hardest-to-reach Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. We are all hopeful that this toolkit will enable honest and direct dialogue between MPs and those individuals with the unknown real power within them to save lives.”
With the depressing figure of only six out of every 100 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register who is from a BAME background, there are too many heart-breaking stories. Sharing hers, is Hilaria Asumu.
When Hilaria developed septicaemia, it led to multiple organ failure, at 35-years old, just after suffering a miscarriage. Later on, she was diagnosed with kidney disease and was put on the transplant list in 2012. She finally received a transplant earlier this year.
Watch Hilaria’s story:
If you wish to give the gift of life by donating your organs after you die, please visit: organ-donation.nhs.uk