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Funding boost to help promote organ donation among black and Asian communities

22 January 2019

Organisations representing a diverse range of faiths and communities in England and Wales are joining the campaign to address the urgent need for black, Asian and minority ethnic organ donors.

Twenty-five projects which aim to encourage people from these backgrounds to become lifesaving organ donors have secured funding after bidding for a share of a £140,000* Community Investment Scheme funding pot.

The scheme is part of a Government campaign led by NHS Blood and Transplant, with support from the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA), to break down myths and barriers and increase support for organ donation among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Some of the groups that have been awarded funding pose with large organ donor cardsHealth Minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, said: “The projects receiving funding today will spread the message about the priceless gift of organ donation up and down the country - at a community level, where it has the strongest impact.

“If you are black or Asian, you will wait on average half a year longer for a matching donor than if you are white. Those six months could be a matter of life or death. We must address this by empowering communities to own the conversation around organ donation.

“Giving the gift of an organ is a deeply personal decision and I hope that the projects funded through this scheme will help people to make an informed choice.”

Organisations representing Jain, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Swahili, black and Asian Christians, black African and Caribbean and multi-faith groups were among the successful bidders from a field of 40 applications.

The organisations are now preparing to launch their projects which will reach people across London, the Midlands and the North West of England, as well as in Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle.

The projects vary and include awareness events and workshops, outreach activity at community and faith gatherings, information leaflets, videos and films, and online and social media campaigns.

The Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN) in Greater Manchester has received funding for its Precious Life Savers project which aims to engage black faith leaders and their congregations.

Rev Charles Kwaku-Odoi of CAHN said: “It was through our work with NHS Blood and Transplant specialist nurses that we became aware of the disproportionately high number of black people waiting for a transplant, and the shortage of donors.

“Over 80 percent of our community are involved with a church, and we feel that recruiting faith leaders as ambassadors and engaging people in church settings can be really effective ways to reach people with a positive organ donation message.”

Faye Bruce, Chair of CAHN, said: “This Community Investment Scheme funding will help us to carry out this work in churches across Greater Manchester, helping to overcome the cultural myths around organ donation and raise awareness of this urgent issue affecting our community.”

The scheme was open to any faith or community-based organisation working within black, Asian and minority communities in England and Wales.

Organisations were invited to bid for funding by outlining how they could build support for organ donation, and all applications were reviewed by an independent judging panel.

Anthony Clarkson, Interim Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The number of applications for funding reflects the passion for promoting organ donation and saving lives that exists in organisations across the spectrum of faiths and communities in the UK.

“Fantastic work is already taking place within communities right across the country. We are delighted to have been able to formalise our support for this community-led work through the Government’s campaign and this funding.

“Hearing a positive organ donation message from a trusted, community-led or local organisation will, we hope, encourage more people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds to decide that they want to be a lifesaving organ donor and to share that decision with their families.”

The organisations leading the projects will evaluate their work after the projects have finished in the summer. This insight will help understanding around the different approaches that can be taken to break down barriers towards organ donation.

*A total of £140,978 was awarded to 25 projects. This was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care with a contribution of £2,933 from the Welsh Government to support two projects that will be delivered in Wales and England.

Contact us

Photos of the successful community and faith-based groups and other images are available on request.

For additional information please contact Rachel Newton in the NHS Blood and Transplant press office on 01923 367600 or email rachel.newton@nhsbt.nhs.uk or pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk

For urgent out of hours enquiries please call: 0117 969 2444

Notes

Story note

While there is an urgent shortage of organs for transplant for people from all backgrounds, the problem is particularly acute for black, Asian and minority ethnic patients.

These patients are over-represented on the waiting list. They are more likely to need an organ transplant than the rest of the population as they are more susceptible to illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension, which could result in organ failure.

Although many black, Asian and minority ethnic patients can receive a transplant from a white donor, for many the best match will come from a donor from the same ethnic background.

Black, Asian and ethnic minority families are less likely to discuss organ donation and are much more likely to decline to donate organs for lifesaving transplants.

NHS Blood and Transplant

NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We provide the blood donation service for England and the organ donation service for the UK. We also provide donated tissues, stem cells and cord blood. We are an essential part of the NHS, saving and improving lives through public donation.

Organ donation

  • It is quick and easy to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk
  • Families are always involved in organ donation discussions. You can make things easier for your family by telling them you want to donate.
  • Every day across the UK around three people who could have benefited from a transplant die because there aren’t enough organ donors.
  • Anyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register, age and medical conditions are not necessarily a barrier to donation.
  • One donor can save or transform up to nine lives through organ donation and save and transforms even more by donating tissue.
  • The Government has announced plans for a presumed consent system of organ donation to take effect from spring 2020. Under the system, you would be a donor unless you register a decision not to donate. Families will still be able to object to donation so it’s important that you make their decision easier at a difficult time by also telling them that you want to donate.