On World Kidney Day (10 March), NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is urging more people from the Black and Asian community, in particular, to join the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR).

Figures out today show that 89% (6,933) of those on the waiting list for an organ transplant in the UK need a kidney transplant. And of those waiting for a kidney, one in four (1,740 people) are Black or Asian.

Black and Asian people are more likely to need a kidney transplant - because they are more susceptible to developing diabetes and high blood pressure which can lead to kidney failure. As a result of higher demand and a shortage of organ donors Black and Asian people have to wait on average five years or more for a kidney transplant, twice as long as the rest of the population.

Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director of Organ Donation at NHSBT, said: "A kidney transplant is more likely to be successful if the donor and recipient are from the same ethnic group. It's absolutely vital that people from all ethnic backgrounds sign up to the ODR and discuss their decision with their families, so that their wishes can be respected."

Talbat Bello, a Black woman and single parent of one who has been on the waiting list for a kidney for seven years, said: "It's very sad to know that I have waited so long for a transplant partly due to my race - and the fact that the Black community is under represented on the NHS Organ Donor Register. My son has been a huge support to me. Without him, I don't think I could keep going. Everyday, I hope and pray that I'll get the call from the hospital to say they've found a match for me."

Research findings suggest that myths surrounding organ donation may create a barrier to joining the ODR amongst the Black and Asian community. Such myths include:

Myth: Organ donation is against my religion.
Fact: Organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most religions. This includes: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. If you're unsure of or uncomfortable with your faith's position on donation, ask a member of your clergy.

Celebrities backing the NHSBT Organ Donation campaign which aims to increase the number of Black and Asian people on the ODR include: TV presenter - Alison Hammond, Ex England Footballer and Pundit - Ian Wright, Olympic athlete - Denise Lewis, Celebrity Chef - Ainsley Harriott, BBC presenter - Ade Adepitan, Singer - Raghav, Comedian and Actor - Kulvinder Ghir, Author - Roopa Farooki, Actor - Raza Jaffrey, Actor - Abhin Galeya, Musician and Actor - Riz Ahmed, Singer - Jaya and Actress - Shobu Kapoor.

The campaign will include a tour of shopping centres in areas with a high concentration of Black and Asian communities, visits to Hindu, Sikh and Muslim faith organisations and places of worship, advertising on Black and Asian television channels, radio stations and newspapers, a Facebook social media campaign and poster display in community shops and outlets.

Currently only 29 percent of the UK population are on the ODR, despite 90 percent of people saying they support organ donation.

To add your name to the NHS Organ Donor Register, please visit here.


- NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority in the NHS. It is the organ donation organisation for the UK, with responsibility for matching and allocating donated organs. Its remit also includes the provision of a safe, sufficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS.

- The NHS Organ Donor Register records the details of people who have registered their wishes to donate organs and/or tissue after their death for transplantation. This information is checked after someone has died by authorised medical staff to establish whether a person wanted to donate.

- Just 0.4 percent of those on the ODR are Black and only 1.3 percent are from the Asian community. These figures represent those on the ODR who have stated their ethnicity where ethnicity has been recorded. Ethnic data has been collected through new registrations since 2002 and only through certain routes to joining.

- Anyone can register on the ODR. Age isn't a barrier to being an organ or tissue donor and neither are most medical conditions. People in their 70s and 80s have become organ donors and saved many lives. The oldest recorded cornea donor was 102.

- One donor can save or transform up to nine lives and many more can be helped through the donation of tissues.

- There are currently 7,739 (at 21.02.11) people in the UK on the active waiting list for an organ transplant. This figure changes constantly as people join and leave the transplant list. Further people are on the suspended list because they are too ill or unable to receive a transplant at present. This brings the current total needing an organ transplant in the UK to more than 10,000.

- In 2010, more than 6,900 organ and cornea transplants were carried out in the UK, thanks to the generosity of deceased and living donors - the highest on record.

NHS Blood and Transplant

Tag Cloud