As many as 25 organizations, including those from the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain communities, we’re part of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Blood and Transplant funding scheme to receive financial support for promoting organ donation among the black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. The NHS Blood and Transplant’s BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) Community Investment Scheme disbursed GBP £140,977 among the 25 community-led organizations for their projects to spread awareness about organ donation among the groups.
It launched its first grant call for the BAME Community Investment Scheme in September 2018 and the progress evaluation report was published this month, detailing the achievements of the projects. Thirteen projects were given GBP 2,499 and 12 above the value of GBP 2,500.
As per the report, more than 200 community events were conducted, while 130,000 people attended organ donation events. Around 4,000 people engaged in conversation or took away a leaflet or information and 8,000 attended a talk or workshop.
The scheme was launched as surveys showed that black and Asian people living in England have less understanding of organ donation and are less supportive of it after death than white people, the report said. The faith and community-based organizations designed and implemented projects to break down myths and increase support for organ donation.
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha delivered outreach activity in the local Hindu community and raised awareness through social media, emails, and leaflets. The ‘Give Hope, Give Life’ project by Global Kidney Foundation focused on its nurses discussing organ donation during free health check-ups at churches, universities, and other venues. Other activities included workshops at community events.
Some of the other projects were led by Vanik Council UK, Leicester-based Santosh Community Centre CIC, and Lightseekers Ltd., Sewa Day, Lancashire BME Network, City Sikhs, British Sikh Nurses, and The Quran Club. The BAME Community Investment Scheme is an important part of a government campaign led by NHS Blood and Transplant, with support from the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA), to address the critical shortage of organ donors from these communities.
Millie Banerjee, Chairman of NHS Blood and Transplant, said, “because the BAME Community Investment Scheme aims to drive a conversation about organ donation, its impact can’t be measured in numbers alone. “However, it is clear these innovative projects reached and engaged many people across a broad spectrum of faiths and communities and played an important role in communicating the facts about organ donation.” The second round of projects funded through the BAME Community Investment scheme is now underway. A further GBP 190,000 was distributed amongst another 25 projects all of which have an important role to play in ensuring that people understand their choices now the law around organ donation has changed in England.
Under the new Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act, that came into force in England on May 20, all adults in England are considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate, or are in one of an excluded category.