Black and Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities make up 11% of the UK population but 30% of the kidney transplant waiting list. Despite this high demand, only 3.5% of registrants on the organ donor register are from BAME communities.
For the past 20 years, Gurch Randhawa, Professor of Diversity in Public Health at the University of Bedfordshire, has been championing organ donation among ethnic minority groups in an effort to increase the number of organ donors. He found that faith played a key role in people’s attitudes towards organ donation. For some, faith was the very reason they chose to be on the organ donor register; for others, faith was one of the reasons they chose not to be. His work through the Organ Donation Taskforce allowed faith leaders to start conversations around organ donation with their communities, helping them to make more informed decisions.
Gurch’s research also has global implications – he helped NHS Blood & Transplant host the first ever Faith & Organ Donation Summit, which saw leaders from multiple religions come together and contribute to an action plan.