Research to boost number of South Asian organ donors

Thursday 26 July 2012
Agimol Pradeep
The British Renal Society has awarded nearly £45,000 to fund a Salford student’s research into increasing the number of organ donors from the South Asian community.

Agimol Pradeep’s PhD research is inspired by her experience as a transplant co-ordinator where she witnesses first-hand the low number of Asian donors in the Manchester area.

Currently, 16.9% of people on the waiting list at Manchester Royal Infirmary’s Renal Transplant Unit are from an Asian background, but only 1.7% of donors between 2005 and 2010 were Asian.

National figures show that people from the Asian community are three times more likely to require an organ transplant than the general population, but only 2% of people on the NHS Organ Donor Register are Asian. The lack of donors reduces the chances of finding a successful match and Asians have to wait three times longer than white people for a kidney transplant.

The long wait can also lead to other problems. Agimol explains: “I’ve been challenged a number of times by patients questioning the ‘waiting game’ behind the transplant. They presume the white population has precedence over Asian and other ethnic minority groups. It’s not an easy task to explain organ matching and the scarcity of donors from Asian backgrounds.” 

Agimol’s research will explore the views of Asian people to understand why they are reluctant to become organ donors. She will work closely with community and religious leaders, GPs and local hospitals to educate and inform Asian people of the benefits of organ donation, and to encourage them to join the donor register.

Agimol said: “I’m passionate about this study because I’ve treated many kidney failure patients who count down every day with tears and anxiety as they wait for a donor. From experience I can say that the best treatment option for a kidney failure patient is having a transplant, so I’m taking this topic further in my research.”

The study will be supervised by Mr Titus Augustine, Clinical Director of Transplantation at Manchester Royal Infirmary and Dr Paula Ormandy, Senior Lecturer at the University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work.

Dr Ormandy said: “The lack of Asian organ donors is an issue that must be tackled urgently, and the award from the British Renal Society is a real vote of confidence that Agimol’s work is of national importance.”

To take part in the research project or to find out more about organ donation, go to: www.southasianorgandonor.org.uk and www.facebook.com/southasianorgandonor

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