UK announces £440,000 to encourage organ, blood donations The UK government’s scheme aims to address the shortage of organs for those waiting for a transplant from all Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has announced £440,000 in funding to encourage black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to donate organs and blood.
The scheme also aims to address an urgent need for more black blood donors to treat disorders like sickle cell.
It is part of the UK government’s initiative to tackle health inequalities in the country, NHSBT said on Wednesday (8). Its Community Investment Scheme will fund community, faith or belief organisations to deliver projects that encourage more black and Asian people to become donors.
Organisations may apply for one of four funding bands – up to £2,499 (blood, organ, or combined), £2,500-£10,000 (blood, organ or combined), £10,001-£20,000 (blood or combined) or £20,000 (stem cell).
For the first time this year, NHS Blood and Transplant will also be working in partnership with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan to raise awareness of stem cell donation.
According to NHS Blood and Transplant’s latest report, there were just 146 organ donors – 84 deceased and 62 living – from black, Asian, mixed heritage and minority ethnic communities in 2020-21. The figures accounted for a 25 per cent dip in deceased donors and a 61 per cent reduction in living donors, compared to figures a year earlier.
Over the same period, there were 1,180 deceased organ donors in the UK with seven per cent from Black, Asian, mixed heritage and minority ethnic communities. However, there are 1,237 people on the waiting list from these communities making up 29.5 per cent of all people waiting for a transplant, according to the data.
When approached about organ donation over the course of the past year, 39.5 per cent of black, Asian, mixed heritage or minority ethnic families agreed to support donation going ahead, compared to 69 per cent of white families, the report said.