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Minorities in need of organ donations left waiting in Wales

Earlier this year my friend Andy had a kidney transplant. Thankfully for him he didn’t have to undergo dialysis for long before his operation.

Many people spend months or years waiting for a suitable donor organ, and for people from black and Asian ethnicities the wait is on average three times longer.

Proportion of population registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register by 20 June 2011, by Strategic Health Authority.

Despite the number of people on the NHS Organ Donor Register reaching a record 18 million, there still aren’t enough people signed up from ethnic minorities.

Of all the registered donors in Wales who declared their ethnic origin, not one of them was black or Asian. That’s despite an 11% increase in the number of people of black or Asian ethnicity waiting for a donor.

But why does ethnicity affect organ donation? The success of an organ donation is dependent on matching and blood type. This is why often family members are first preference.

Those figures won’t surprise Sahibaa, a school girl from Newport. She waited months and months before she finally got the news that she’d have a donor kidney.

Sahibaa is now fit and healthy but she hopes her story will encourage other from ethnic minorities to sign the Organ Donor Register, so that they can give the gift of life.

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