Empowering BAME communities to engage with 'living donation'

A 'Living Transplant Initiative' aimed at Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities has had another successful year of engagement. NHS Blood and Transplant's latest annual report shows that more people, in more towns and cities, were engaged with the Initiative’s work than ever before.

In the last year, the Initiative, led by the National Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Transplant Alliance, has funded seven projects to engage with BAME communities across England on the importance of donating a kidney or liver while alive. 

Four of these projects have arranged community events and supported people who’ve shown an interest in living donation. The three smaller projects ensured hospitals were also able to engage more with BAME groups on this topic.

Since April 2019 the Initiative has focused on encouraging people interested in living donation to take the next step and be assessed in the hope that they can go on to donate. As well as black and Asian people, the Initiative is engaging with people in socio-economic situations where living donation may not be on their radar. This work will continue until at least spring 2020.

When the law changes to a soft opt-out system of consent for deceased donors in spring 2020 there will be a major change in deceased donation and it’s vital that everyone is aware and engaged in this. At the same time, it is crucial that people understand the unique and important role that living donors will continue to play in ensuring that everyone who is waiting for a transplant has an opportunity to receive one when they need it.

Lisa Burnapp, Clinical Lead for Living Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “There’s a shortage of both living and deceased organ donors from Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups. In the last year we’ve engaged more people from black, Asian and ethnic minority groups, in more areas, than ever before on the importance of living organ donation.

“This initiative has been central in ensuring this important message is heard by the right people. We hope more people will now take the next step and seriously consider donating, either to a family member, friend or even to someone they don’t know who is waiting for a kidney."

Kirit Modi, Honorary President of NBTA said: “This initiative shows that empowering BAME groups to take the lead in promoting organ donation among their communities does work. It is important that this work continues as we move towards introducing an opt out system for deceased organ donation in 2020."