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Jains support change in law on organ donation

12 June 2019

Jain leaders gathered for a large meeting on 9 June 2019 at the Navnat Centre in Hayes to support the upcoming change in law on organ donation in England and explain the change to over 450 members of the community. The event was organised by the Vanik Council UK with support from NHS Blood and Transplant.

A speaker addresses the audience at the eventManharbhai Mehta, Chairman of the Vanik Council said:

“I am delighted that Jains have gathered in large numbers to find out about the change in law on organ donation in England that comes into effect next spring. We welcome the change in law because it will provide us with more opportunities to encourage Jains to register on the NHS Organ Donor Register and save lives.”

The chief guest at this event was Lord Jitesh Gadhia who is a passionate supporter of organ donation and has helped establish the Jain and Hindu Organ Donation (JHOD) group.

The families of five people who donated their organs or tissue after death, as well as six living kidney donors were honoured at the meeting by the Vanik Council.

People were requested to fill the donor registration forms if they wish to do so while at the meeting. 50 people filled the form and handed in.

Andrea Ttofa from NHS Blood and Transplant said:

“It was great to see so many people come together from the Jain community for an organ donation celebration day. This was a great opportunity for people to find out more about organ donation and the choices available to them as well as hear the real stories of people who have donated loved one’s organs or donated a kidney as a living donor.

“It is so important for people to keep talking about organ donation and sharing their decision with their families and our thanks go out to everyone who are setting up events like this to enable people to come together and have the conversation.”

There is a desperate need for more organ donors from the Jain community in the UK.Two women hold a framed certificate

In March 2018, there were 959 Asians were waiting for an organ transplant, mainly kidneys. In 2017/18, there were only 106 organ donors from the Asian community; 37 donors after death and 69 living kidney donors.

Kirit Modi, Chair of the JHOD steering group said:

“I am delighted to support this amazing event organised by the Vanik Council UK. Our message is simple. Please register your decision about organ donation; please talk to your family members about your decision and most importantly, please help save lives.”

Visit the Organ Donation website for more information about the change in the law around organ donation in England and for information on the Jain perspective on organ donation.

Key points 

  • From spring 2020, the law around organ and tissue donation in England is changing
  • All adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.
  • Excluded groups include: those under 18, people who lack mental capacity, visitors to England, those not living here voluntarily and people who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death
  • Adults covered by the change will still have a choice whether they want to be an organ donor and their families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead
  • Whatever your decision, make your choice clear to your family and closest friends to ensure your choice is honoured

Notes to editors

Vanik Council UK is an umbrella organisation representing 26 Jain organisations in the UK. Details of its work on increasing living kidney donation are available on the Vanik Council (UK) website 

A recent survey of attitudes to organ donation of Indians in the UK conducted by NHS Blood and Transplant found that about 50% support organ donation, about 40% have not decided yet and about 10% do not support organ donation.