NHS Blood and Transplant has made an urgent call for more blood and organ donors from the black community.
It says urgently needs 40,000 more people from black African, black Caribbean and mixed heritage backgrounds to come forward as blood donors, as they are more likely to have the Ro blood type which can help people with sickle cell.
Although the number of active blood donors has grown from 13,000 five years ago to 17,000 now, there is still an urgent shortage of donors to help black patients who need lifesaving or life enhancing blood transfusions and organ transplants, according to NHS Blood and Transplant.
Last year, 25 people from black backgrounds donated organs after they died – an increase from 17 five years earlier.
However, there are 632 black people waiting for a transplant, with most of those in need of a kidney. Last year, 31 patients from black backgrounds died waiting for a transplant.
With Black History Month now under way, it hopes it can attract people to come forward and donate blood and register as organ donors.
Sally Johnson, interim chief executive of NHSBT, said: “Donors save and improve lives. More than 2,300 people from the black community are alive today thanks to an organ transplant.
“Many of the 15,000 people living with sickle cell disease in the UK depend on frequent blood transfusions to lead normal lives. We need 10 blood donors to make each transfusion possible.
“We are incredibly grateful to every person who gives blood and joins the NHS Organ Donor Register, and to those inspirational families who say yes to organ donation after a loved one has died.
“More black people are saving lives in these ways. But there is still an urgent need for people in the black community to help others who depend on a match with a donor from a similar ethnic background.”
During Black History Month, NHS Blood and Transplant is holding a number of events across the country to raise awareness and boost donor numbers.
Source: NHS Blood and Transplant
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