Lord Jitesh Gadhia and Jackie Doyle-Price (Left).

Asian faith and community leaders were urged to help increase the number of Indians and Jains signing up to the donor register at an event in parliament last Wednesday (12).

Lord Jitesh Gadhia hosted an event attended by community leaders as he called on them to raise awareness of the issue.

“We can trace back to our ancient Vedic heritage a very powerful tradition of Sewa, or service, and daan, giving without expectation. And organ donation falls very much into those core values which we all believe in which-ever branch of Hindu, Jain or Sikh beliefs we might come from,” Lord Gadhia said.

He added: “Organ donation is area where we can act in a cohesive, coordinated and more united way across different community organisations, and also take advantage of the government’s offer of assistance to raise awareness through, for example, the Community Investment Fund and Faith Specific Donor Card.”

Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price MP, whose portfolio includes leading on NHS blood and transplants, including organ donation, spoke at the event.

She said: “Donation is a gift, but we must do all we can to tackle taboos and encourage people to have the conversations with loved ones.

“There is an urgent need for more people from Hindu and Jain communities to support organ donation. We know that religious leaders support this important cause, yet organ donation rates from these communities re-mains low.

“That’s why we have recently launched a new community scheme that will support local leaders in the Hindu and Jain communities to raise awareness of this issue.”

In March, 959 Asians were waiting for an organ transplant.