In a heartfelt effort to bolster organ and stem cell donations within South Asian communities, Seema Malhotra MP, alongside dedicated healthcare workers, recently hosted a significant event at the House of Commons. The event aimed to encourage South Asians to step forward and register as potential organ and stem cell donors, according to an official statement.
This remarkable gathering also served as an awards ceremony, where Seema Malhotra MP recognized and celebrated the invaluable contributions of volunteers from Upahaar, a charitable organization committed to raising awareness about organ donation within South Asian communities.
Held during the organ donation week from September 18 to 24, the event drew participation from prominent representatives of charitable organizations such as Anthony Nolan and DKMS. Additionally, the initiative received support from NHS Blood and Transplant, reinforcing the importance of this cause.
In the United Kingdom, approximately 7,000 individuals currently await life-saving transplants. Unfortunately, the circumstances suitable for organ donation arise in only 1,400 cases annually. Therefore, each act of donation carries immense significance and has the potential to save lives.
During the event, Seema Malhotra MP emphasized the pressing challenge of finding compatible donors for patients from ethnic backgrounds in need of blood, stem cell, or organ transplants. This challenge is exacerbated by lower donation rates within ethnic minority communities.
Malhotra MP articulated, “Increasing the number of people on the international stem cell and organ register is vital. If you are white, you have a 72 per cent chance of getting a match, but if you are an ethnic minority, that drops to a 37 per cent chance.” She further stressed the simplicity of registering, which involves a straightforward swab.
The official statement highlights that registering on the NHS Organ Donor Register not only increases the chances of individuals’ choices being supported but also contributes to addressing the shortage of donors.
Since its inception in 2017, Upahaar has successfully enlisted over 7,000 donors, with a remarkable 96 per cent of them hailing from ethnic minority communities. This outstanding achievement underscores the organization’s dedication to bridging the gap in organ and stem cell donations.
Dr. Zainul Aabideen, a specialist in pediatric transplantation, expressed the profound impact of these donations, particularly in saving children from diseases like Leukemia. He remarked, “I can’t express the frustration we feel when we don’t have the donors. I can only support the children. I can’t express the voice of parents and the joy when children are saved from Leukemia or other diseases.”
The event in the House of Commons serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for more South Asian donors to step forward and become potential life-savers through organ and stem cell donations. As organ donation week continues, the call for solidarity in this noble cause reverberates louder than ever across the nation.