London, Jan 29 (IANS) The Scottish government is encouraging members of the South Asian community in the country to sign up as organ donors after figures showed that fewer than one percent of people on the register are from this background.
Only 1,512 people out of the more than two million Scots currently on the National Health Service (NHS) organ donor register are from South Asian communities, the Scotland Herald reported Wednesday.
Despite the higher prevalence of diabetes, kidney and heart disease among the South Asian in recent times, the trend of donating organs has not improved.
The project is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Kidney Research UK.
Twenty trained volunteers will speak to people of different faiths and cultural groups about organ donation in a bid to increase the number of organ donors.
This has encouraged almost 1,000 people from these backgrounds to join the donors’ list.
“Kidney failure affects the Asian community up to five times as much as the Caucasian community,” Neerja Jain, health improvement projects manager at Kidney Research UK, was quoted as saying.
“A kidney from someone of the same ethnic group is likely to lead to a better matched organ sooner, which is why it’s so important to raise awareness of the need for organ donation among these communities, ” Jain said.
According to the report, total of 44 people from the South Asian community in Scotland are waiting for life-saving transplants.
“Organ donation is an often taboo subject within Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities, largely due to the misconceptions surrounding the issue,” Rajan Madhok, who is working closely with the Scottish government on the project and is helping recruit the peer educators, said.
“Ultimately it’s an individual choice, but we want to ensure people have the right information. There’s a huge shortage of compatible donors, but this can be turned around through education, and projects like this that take the important organ donation message into the heart of communities,” he added.