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  Health -> South Asian Organ Donation Campaign re-launched.  
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The information provided on this website is for general awareness purposes only. Always consult a suitably qualified physician.

(26th September 2001)

Nina Wadia, Actress.Nina Wadia, of hit TV Show 'Goodness Gracious Me', today pleaded from more Asians Organ Donors as she an gave a emotional account of her mother's own desperate case. The talk came at the launch of the 3rd phase of the South Asian Organ Donation campaign announced by Health Minister Jacqui Smith.

The South Asian Organ Donation campaign is a key element of the overall Department of Health public campaign to raise awareness of the importance of telling those close to you if you wish to be an organ donor.

The campaign is designed to :

  • raise awareness of the growing number of Asian patients currently on the transplant waiting lists.
  • address the key concerns and issues surrounding the subject and
  • encourage members of the South Asian community to become organ donors

Figures for Asian patients on the NHS UK as at 24 September 2001, including active and suspended patients on the solid organ waiting list in the UK are given below:

Total number on waiting list
Number of Asian patients registered as a % of all patients with a known ethnic origin
Number of Asian patients registered

Jacqui Smith, Health MinisterJacqui Smith, Health Minister, said: "Currently 14% of those on the kidney transplant waiting list are from the South Asian community. This is because larger numbers of people from this community have diabetes and high blood pressure and are reaching the age when renal failure is more common. In a few years time in parts of the country with large ethnic communities we estimate half the people on kidney dialysis may be black or Asian."

New TV ads to encourage people to join organ donation list

Art Malik, Actor, as featured in the Asian Organ Donor TV AdvertsAs part of the campaign a series of three TV commercials, along with new press creatives were unveiled, featuring key British Asian celebrities, including comedienne Nina Wadia, actors Art Malik and Mina Anwar, news presenters Lisa Aziz and Krishnan Guru-Murthy, as well as pop star Bally Jagpal. The commercials feature each of the stars in different environments, passing on the message of organ donation to their peers.

Nina Wadia, who has supported the campaign since it was first launched in 1999, added: "We as a community need to help ourselves and take the lead with issues such as this. A transplant is more likely to succeed if the donor is from the same racial group, so we need more Asians to come forward and make a a commitment to donating their organs after death. It's not an easy issue to understand or for families to come to terms with, but the fact is that we can help save lives."

Concern about whether religion forbids organ donation are unfounded. In 1996, The Muslim Law (Shariah) council released a fatwa stating that it is now acceptable for Muslims to donate organs after their death and to accept organs if needed.

Likewise, other Asian religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism all support the individuals' right to choose. In March 2000, Dr Bal Mukund Bhala, Chairman of the Hindu Council (UK) and Consultant Anaesthetist likened donation with karma. He said, "What does the word donation actually mean? In Sanskrit it means not just any giving, it's selfless giving. It also links nicely with the law of karma so that good action will give you good results in this life and the next life".

At the same conference, Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, Director of the Sikh Human Rights Group said "The word 'Sikh' means to be a scholar, to seek truth. The Sikh preoccupation is with development of the mind, so in a way the body is a vessel, an irrelevancy in the scheme of things and there is no problem with donation".

Indeed many Asian families have told the Health Service that they have gained great comfort in donation at an otherwise very tragic time.

'Pass it On' Campaign

The 'Pass it On' Asian Organ Donor campaignThe 'Pass it On' campaign also encourages that willing donors carry the organ donation card, register and advise family members of their wishes. In the event of death, doctors will not take organs from a patient without first discussing the donation with relatives, even if the patient carried a donor card and was on the NHS Organ Donor register. This emphasises the need to discuss with close relatives about your wishes in the event of your death.

The Gift of Life

The Government hopes this new phase of the South Asian Donor Campaign will help it increase the kidney transplant rate by almost 100 per cent by 2005. It also wants to increase heart & lung and liver transplants by 10 per cent in the same period.

It has set an ambitious target of doubling the number of people registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register to 16 million by 2010.

Want to become an Organ Donor?

Copies of the 'Organ Donation and the Asian community' leaflet are available from the Organ donation literature line by calling 0845 60 60 400 or visit the NHS Organ Donation website. The leaflets are available in the following languages English, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi.



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