A special message on organ donation is being sent by Hindu and Jain community leaders and patients during this year’s Diwali festival (27 October).
The Hindu and Jain communities have shown their positive support for organ donation and welcome the introduction of the change in the law which comes into force next year in England and Scotland.
In 2018/19, there were 149 Asian organ donors in the UK; 83 were living kidney donors and there were more Asian deceased donors than ever before, with 56 people giving the gift of life after death.
But there were still 1006 people from Asian backgrounds waiting for an organ transplant. This shows the urgent need for more Asian organ donors.
Most Asian patients receive transplants from white donors, but in reality, for many the best blood and tissue match would come from a donor of the same ethnic background, meaning a better outcome for the patient.
While being an organ donor is down to individual choice, it is concerning that the majority of people who have recorded an ‘opt out’ decision are BAME. Given that the best transplant outcome is often from being matched with someone of the same ethnic origin, this could further impact patents in need of organ transplants from their community.
Many have voiced concerns over the process itself, or whether their faith or beliefs will be respected, so NHS Blood and Transplant is encouraging people to find out more about the organ donation process and about the position of their faith or belief system on organ donation.
From spring 2020 in England and Autumn 2020 in Scotland, everyone will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. This system was introduced in Wales in December 2015 and in Jersey in July this year.
Families will still always be involved in organ donation, so it is vital that they know what your choice is. Anyone who has also registered as an organ donor and made it clear that their faith must be considered as part of the organ donation process will have that decision honoured.
In the lead up to the change in law, NHS Blood and Transplant is urging families across England to talk and share their decision. If the time comes, families find the organ donation conversation much easier if they already know what their relative wanted.
Hindu and Jain communities are actively involved in explaining the change in law and have developed special videos and leaflets aimed at their communities.
Find out more and register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family.