Three community projects in Brighton – Facts Not Fear from Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership (BMECP), Sustaining Discourse on Organ Donation from Chinese Educational Development Project (CEDP) and Creating BAME student-led opportunities to expand organ donation awareness across universities in England from University of Brighton – have received a share of more than £28,000 from the UK government to tackle health inequalities and promote blood and organ donation in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
The announcement of the funding aims to address the shortage of organs, particularly kidneys, for those waiting for a transplant from all Black, Asian, mixed heritage and minority ethnic backgrounds, while also highlighting the need for more blood donors from a black background, whose blood is used to treat patients with conditions like sickle cell.
The Community Investment Scheme, which is led by NHS Blood and Transplant, will fund local organisations to drive awareness, understanding and behaviour change. Having previously only focussed on promoting organ donation, the scheme has now been opened to include projects which also highlight the importance of blood donation.
For many patients in need of a transplant the best match will come from a donor from the same ethnic background. In the UK there are currently estimated to be at least 2,569 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and 580 of those are from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds. Kidney donors and recipients are matched by blood group and tissue type, and people from the same ethnic background are more likely to have matching blood groups and tissue types.
Altaf Kazi, head of Faith and Belief Engagement at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Through the Community Investment Scheme we have seen first-hand the abilities of trusted individuals and community groups to prompt conversation, tackle misinformation, educate and offer reassurance around organ donation and now blood donation. Often a person’s best donor match will share their ethnicity, but too many donation opportunities are missed because families haven’t discussed organ donation, and Black and Asian people are seriously underrepresented when it comes to donating blood.
“We are asking more people from Black and Asian communities to find out about both blood and organ donation and help us to address the inequalities that many members of these communities may face. By giving your support you can help save lives.”