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Organ donation in focus at London’s places of worship

Organ donation box

Tue 25th February, 2014

AN ACTION plan authored by a Professor at the University of Bedfordshire has resulted in the delivery of a programme of educational outreach events across London to raise organ donation awareness.

Launched in December, having been developed by religious leaders and in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), the Faith Engagement and Organ Donation Action Plan has been established to boost organ donation rates amongst black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups in the UK.

With just 56 of more than 1,200 organ donors in the UK during 2012/13 coming from BAME communities, the NHSBT-organised events in London will be held at mosques, temples, churches and synagogues in an effort to entice more worshippers to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

“An organ is allocated according to many factors, such as blood and tissue type,” said the University’s Professor of Diversity in Public Health, and author of the Plan, Gurch Randhawa.

“Organ matching is likely to be closer when the ethnicity of the donor and recipient are the same. As there are so few BAME donors, patients from BAME communities often have to wait longer for a transplant.”

Dedicated outreach workers and health professionals will be in attendance at some 30 events across the capital throughout March. In addition, leaflets outlining each major religion’s perspectives on organ donation will be available, along with bilingual promotional materials in a number of different languages, including Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi.

NHSBT's Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, Sally Johnson, commented: “Religious beliefs can play a major role in an individual’s decision to donate organs, so we are working closely with many leading faith groups to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

“We hope that these events will build on that and bring to the heart of each faith community the simple message that there is broad support for organ donation among all major religions. And if you agree with organ donation as an individual, you can help save lives simply by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and sharing your decision to donate with your loved ones.”

To join the Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk call 0300 123 23 23 or text SAVE to 62323.

Bedfordshire University

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