Black kidney donors targeted to save lives

BLACK DONORS are targeted to help address persistent organ donation shortages with new projects to eliminate health inequities and save hundreds of lives.

Thousands of pounds of funding is set to go to several projects to promote kidney donation among black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities who are still the groups least likely to register as organ donors.

The Living Kidney Transplant Scheme was launched as part of NHS Blood and Transplant’s commitment to addressing the shortage of organs available to people from diverse backgrounds awaiting lifesaving transplants.

Research has shown that for many patients in need of a transplant, the best match will come from a donor of the same ethnic background.

In the UK there are currently 5,903 people waiting for an organ transplant with figures revealing that there are 4,676 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

A shocking 1,554 patients waiting are from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid described the decision to donate a kidney as “incredibly personal”, but that it’s vital that communities come together to talk about the life-saving choice.

“With over 1,500 people from ethnic minorities on the waiting list, we need more people from these communities to consider becoming living organ donors.

“This funding will help community organizations start more conversations and save more lives,” he said.

One of seven projects supported by the £100,000 funding is the African Caribbean Leukemia Trust (ACLT) which aims to engage and encourage people of African and Caribbean descent to become a living kidney donor.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic patients often have to endure much longer waiting times for a successful match than white patients due to a shortage of suitably matched donors.

Kidney donors and recipients are matched by blood type and tissue type, which means people of the same ethnicity are more likely to have matching blood groups and tissue types.

Through programs like The Living Kidney Transplant and grassroots organizations like the ACLT,

who advocate for organ donation in a culturally relevant way, experts hope to raise awareness and create health equity for all communities.

Orin Lewis OBE, co-founder and chief executive of ACLT, said: “Living donation has been of great importance to the work of ACLT since 2010, when the charity set out to raise awareness and to help increase the number of people of African descent. Caribbean heritage living in the UK, considering being an organ donor. This commitment is due to our belief that no patient in urgent need of a transplant should die while waiting for a matched donor.

He added: “There is no greater gift than giving life to someone else. So, to be able for our organization to continue to champion living donation, encouraging members of Afro-Caribbean communities to become lifesavers in their lifetime, we are honored to be one of the successful candidates for the Living Kidney Transplant Scheme.

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