Dying for a Donor
The need for organ donors among the BME community in Blackburn was the subject of a health campaign run by One Voice. The Baiter Sehat Campaign (Phase 2) run by One Voice in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council held a workshop to highlight the need of attracting more donors from the BME community.
The event, held at Bangor Street Community Centre, was supported by the North West Blood and Transplant Team and included talks from donors, those waiting for an organ donation, and those who have been recipients of live organs. It attracted over 50 members of the Bastwell community to the 90 minute session.
Local Bastwell Councillor, Pervaiz Akhtar, said:
“One Voice is doing a very good job in highlighting this area of organ donation. They are educating the community in this important matter and we are pleased that they held this event in our local ward. It is a real eye opener that while people from our community are willing to receive, they are reluctant to donate.”
The Baiter Sehat Campaign was responsible for a rise in enquiries about organ donation through events specifically targeted at the local BME community, including a health mela in June.
Reema Arshad 16, from Blackburn, is looking to sign up for an organ donor card after visiting a community engagement session and the health mela.
“I attended the Baiter Sehat health mela and a workshop where I was given lots of information about the need for more donors among our community,” said Reema, a St Wilfrid’s student.
“I have also got a relation who received a kidney transplant which has potentially saved his life. I think it’s a complete no brainer for us to carry a donor card.”
There are currently around 2,500 members of the BME community in the UK awaiting an organ donation. More locally, there are 36 Asian patients awaiting either a kidney or liver transplant. There are 213 people of Asian origin in the Blackburn area who currently hold a donor card.
Saadia Rafik received a kidney transplant six months ago. She said:
“It has changed my life. I can go on to do normal things again after being on dialysis for over a year. I think that more of these events should be organised to raise awareness for organ donation. I am really impressed with so many young people attending these sessions.”
Zaheer Mahmud of One Voice explains the importance of the organ donation awareness events.
“We are giving our community some vital information about the process of organ donation. The first phase of the Baiter Sehat campaign showed that our community is hungry for this information before they make an informed choice of whether to carry a donor card.”
Angela Ditchfield of the NHS Blood and Transplant service said:
“‘We are delighted to be working together with One Voice and raising awareness of organ donation. It was another fantastic turnout from the local community and we hope to have further events such as these to highlight the need of donors.”
A further awareness session took place at Jan’s Conference Centre, in Blackburn, where the community where told that nearly 2,000 people from the BME community were waiting for a transplant in the country. The take up of organ register cards was around 1 per cent.