IN NEED: Ethnic minority donors
A GROUP of Labour MPs have said school pupils should learn about organ and blood donation to help tackle the “silent crisis” of a lack of ethnic minority donors in England.
According to the MPs, teaching children about donation would boost donor numbers by preventing “misinformation spreading”.
Demand for blood, stem cells and organs in these groups is particularly high and supply very low, their review says.
Lack of awareness and a mistrust of clinicians were among the reasons.
Although people from ethnic minority groups can receive donations from white people, the best match is often from a person with the same ethnic background.
The review into BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) blood, stem cell and organ donation, overseen by the group of ministers, highlighted that more than a third of those on the waiting list for a kidney transplant are from BAME groups, and they wait on average a year longer for a transplant than white people.
They are disproportionately likely to need an organ transplant, the report’s authors said, in part because some BAME groups are particularly vulnerable to illnesses that lead to organ failure.
But fewer than 5% of blood donors last year were from BAME communities – which make up about 14% of the total UK population – and the percentage was similar for organ donations after death, according to the report.
MPs said there were a number of reasons for the growing “donation crisis”, including a lack of awareness, mistrust of medical institutions, and “perceived or assumed religious barriers”.
Teaching about donation on the national curriculum would provide children with “myth-busting tools that are often vitally needed in BAME communities”, the report said.
Although some resources for schools about donation exist, there is no national requirement to use them.
Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.