MP’s Urged to Promote Blood and Organ Donation

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MPs urged to promote blood and organ donation in South Asian communities . . . . by Asian Lite News

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) launched a toolkit at an event in the Houses of Parliament that can be used by Members of Parliament to promote blood and organ donation to people from South Asian communities in their constituencies.

This initiative comes as NHS Blood and Transplant released figures that show in the past six financial years, 2,241 people from South Asian communities in the UK have benefited from life saving organ transplants. However, in that same time period only 143 organ donors came from South Asian communities. There are 995 South Asian people on the transplant waiting lists today.

There are also few blood donors, with only two per cent of active blood donors in England coming from South Asian or mixed race communities. It is essential that we gain more South Asian blood and organ donors. Donors from these 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 types 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.

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.

Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant said “I hope that MPs will take away this toolkit, and urge their constituents to become donors. There are South Asian patients who need rare blood and South Asian patients are waiting too long for transplants. By becoming a blood donor, you can save or improve up to three lives every time you donate. By joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and sharing your decision with your families, you could transform up to nine lives, if you are able to donate after your death.”

The official websites can be visited  www.blood.co.uk and www.organdonation.nhs.uk for further information

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