Senior Labour politician and Southall MP Virendra Sharma appeals to the South Asians to enrol blood and organ donor register
Southall MP Virendra Sharma is teaming up with NHS Blood and Transplant to urge more South Asian people from communities in Ealing, Southall to register as blood and organ donors.
“It is essential that more from South Asian communities to join blood and organ donor register,” said Mr Sharma. “Donors from our communities are more likely to have rare blood and tissue types and South Asian patients are more likely to require these rare types.”
Additionally South Asian people are more likely to need a transplant than people from white communities. This is because they are more susceptible to illnesses such as diabetes and certain forms of hepatitis.
Donated kidneys are allocated according to many factors, with blood and tissue type among the most important. Matching is likely to be closer when the ethnicity of the donor and the recipient are closer. Only a small percentage of deceased donors are from South Asian backgrounds so this can delay a suitably matched kidney being found and South Asian people will often wait a year longer for a kidney transplant than people from white backgrounds.
Since 2010/11, 36 South Asian people from Ealing Southall have had lifesaving organ transplants, but there are still 21 South Asian people from Ealing, Southall on the transplant waiting list
People from South Asian communities can also be susceptible to conditions, such as thalassaemia, which leave them requiring regular blood transfusions. Blood from donors with a similar ethnic background can provide the best match and better outcomes in the long term for patients.
Blood is used for a number of other reasons, such as treating blood cancers or replacing blood loss after childbirth. It is important that more people from South Asian communities donate so we can have suitably matched blood available for patients who may urgently need it for any reason.
Local MP Virendra Sharma said “I know that people from Ealing, Southall are generous. When people from South Asian communities find out they may have rare blood and tissue types, I’m sure they will want to do everything they can to help save lives. There are 159 South Asian people in Ealing, Southall who actively donate blood but we need more. I urge people to find out if they can donate blood, and to join the organ donor register. One day it could be someone they love who needs an organ transplant or a unit of blood.”
Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant said “I am very grateful that Virendra Sharma MP is working with us to help save more lives. There are South Asian patients who need rare blood and South Asian patients are waiting longer for transplants. By becoming a blood donor, you can save up to three lives every time you donate. By joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and sharing your decision with your families you could save up to nine lives, if you are able to donate after your death.”