Last year there were 202 Black or Asian blood donors from Birmingham, Ladywood. We need more.
We face a paradox. There's an under representation of members from the BAME communities among blood and organ doners BUT members of BAME communities are more susceptible to rare blood diseases such as sickle cell and thalassaemia. The incidence of conditions like diabetes, hepatitis, high-blood pressure and kidney failure (which have a higher likelihood of needing a transplant) is also higher in BAME communities.
Today, I ask all my constituents to join me in supporting the ‘#Represent' campaign which sees NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) join forces with MOBO to recruit a new generation of blood and organ donors.
Donated blood is used in a range of life-saving treatments for patients with cancer, blood disorders and those suffering medical trauma or undergoing surgery, illness which transcends colour, creed or class. However, patients who require regular transfusions need blood which is more closely matched to their own to get the best outcome; the best way to get this match is blood from a similar ethnic background.
Furthermore, we must tackle the approximately 18,000 BAME people currently on donor waiting lists, having to wait around two to three times longer than those from other backgrounds. 27% of all those on the organ transplant list are from the Asian community alone.
Giving blood is simple yet remains a matter of life and death for many, it takes approximately an hour of your time but has the ability to save lives.
Increasing the number of blood and organ donors is the minimum we must aspire to. We are all responsible for encouraging others in our community and neighbourhood to step forward. #Represent and #GiveBlood.