SEEMA MALHOTRA MP and healthcare workers have urged South Asians to sign up to become organ and stem cell donors at an event held in the House of Commons, a statement said.
The awards ceremony was hosted by the MP to recognise the work of volunteers for Upahaar, a charity dedicated to improving awareness of organ donation among South Asians.
The ceremony, held during the organ donation week (Sep. 18 to 24), was attended by representatives from charity Anthony Nolan and DKMS and supported by NHS Blood and Transplant.
At present, there are around 7,000 people waiting for a transplant in the country. However, as only 1,400 people die in circumstances where organ donation is possible, every donation can make such a difference.
The British Indian lawmaker highlighted the challenge of finding ethnic background matches for patients needing blood, stem cell, or organ transplants due to low donation rates in ethnic minority communities.
“Increasing the number of people on the international stem cell and organ register is vital. If you are white, you have a 72 per cent chance of getting a match, but if you are an ethnic minority, that drops to a 37 per cent chance,” said Malhotra MP.
“Getting on the register is a simple process that only takes a swab.”
According to the statement, registering on the NHS Organ Donor Register increases the likelihood of family support for one’s choice.
Started in 2017, Upahaar has so far signed up over 7000 donors, 96 per cent of whom are from ethnic minority communities.
“I can’t express the frustration we feel when we don’t have the donors.I can only support the children. I can’t express the voice of parents and the joy when children are saved from Leukaemia or other diseases,” said Dr Zainul Aabideen, a specialist in paediatric transplantation.