Kidney donor project ‘significant’ success, East End Professor says

MORE than 500 people have been added to the Organ Donor Register in a “hugely significant” advancement for black and south Asian communities, a leading professor said.

The drive, led by Queen Mary’s dean of education Professor Anthony N Warrens, involved staff working with minority groups to dispel fears about organ donation.

Education around the way lives can be transformed - and saved - through kidney transplant was a key part of the study.

Kidney disease affects blacks and south Asians disproportionately due to high rates of diabetes among those communities.

But there are simply not enough donors on the register and sufferers have to wait twice as long for a transplant than white patients.

Professor Warrens, who is also treasurer of the British Transplantation Society, told the Advertiser: “Five hundred extra people on the list is hugely significant.

“With every new donor there’s a potential of adding 56 extra years to people’s lives.

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“Thousands around the world are dying on waiting lists because there aren’t enough organs. This can revolutionise and save lives.”

Charity Kidney Research UK funded the project after receiving �203,464 from the Big Lottery Fund.

People on dialysis often spend three days in hospital every week, with the procedure taking up to six hours a time.

There is a 95 per cent success rate for those who get a new kidney, with organs lasting an average of 12 years.

Some, therefore, have to go back on the list after receiving an organ earlier in life.

The main concerns facing target communities are around whether organ donation fits in with their cultural or religious beliefs - particularly in Islam - Professor Warrens said.

But most fears can easily be allayed, he added, explaining: “We get those from within the communities to talk to people so they can understand what’s involved.

“There’s sometimes a lack of understanding of the issues.”

Of the 7,000 people in the UK needing a kidney transplant, 1,000 are from a black or South Asian background.

The project is now being rolled out further, due to funds from the Department of Health.