Celebrities from the British Asian, African and Caribbean communities joined forces yesterday to launch a campaign calling for more BME people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Pop star Jay Sean, TV presenters Sonia Deol and Ama K Abebrese and singer Jaya came together at London’s Hammersmith Hospital to ‘Prove’ they care about the lack of organ donors from BME backgrounds.
As well as increasing awareness about organ donation, the campaign aims to challenge the misconceptions surrounding the issue through the innovative use of drama in a series of Street Plays that will visit key locations around the country in the coming weeks. The campaign will give the information about the community with unique insight into the experiences of patients currently on the transplant waiting list as well as the opportunity to see the positive impact of donation from a donor family’s perspective.
Kulvinder Ghir, who will be taking the lead role in the Asian version of the Street Play said: “Organ donation is a difficult and often taboo subject within our communities, with a host of misconceptions. Being a part of this campaign and taking messages to the heart of the community is going to be challenging, but if I can change people’s attitudes and get the community to realise the importance of joining the NHS Organ Donor Register then I will have made use of my celebrity status.”
People from the South Asian and black communities living in the UK are three times more likely to need a kidney transplant but just 1.2% of people from the South Asian community and 0.4% of people from black communities have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Due to the shortage of compatible donors, South Asian and black patients on average have to wait nearly twice as long as a white person for an organ to become available.