Asian’s ‘under represented’ in blood donation

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Call for community to make a ‘date to donate’ during National Blood Week

THE West Midlands Asian community is still holding back when it comes to blood donation, according to new data.

Statistics released by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) reveals that only 8.5 percent of blood donated in the West Midlands comes from south Asians.

With specific blood groups, like type B, more common amongst south Asians it is crucial that people from this ethnic group donate blood: 25 percent of all south Asians are blood type B, compared to only nine percent of Caucasians. Also, conditions like Thalassaemia Major, which require regular blood transfusions, are more prevalent amongst this community.

Campaigns specifically targeting South Asians have had some success in encouraging the community to donate blood regularly and while there has been an increase, there is still a long way to go to making sure demand for blood from this community is met with enough donors.

Every year thousands of lives are saved or improved thanks to selfless blood donors. It is essential that new people register to become blood donors; the NHS needs 7,000 units of donated blood every day to be used for a wide range of reasons: not just for rare blood disorders, but also for surgery, to treat cancer patients and for use in difficult childbirths.

Every day around 133 people from south Asian backgrounds give blood, but NHSBT still need more people from this community to donate.

Celebrity author, Roopa Farooki is supporting the campaign and urging more south Asians to donate. She says:

“Giving blood is one of the easiest ways someone can save another person’s life and National Blood Week is a fantastic opportunity to make sure you book an appointment to give blood.

“I was shocked to learn that only 8.5 percent of blood donations in the West Midlands are from the south Asian community. I hope that more members of our community will today make that commitment to donate blood.”

Dr Ajai Singh, Associate Specialist in donor medicine at NHSBT, added: “Religious faiths encourage helping others and therefore giving blood. It’s a simple act that could save several lives. Just one unit of blood can save the lives of three adults or seven babies, and you can start donating from the age of 17.”

 

For more information about blood donation or to make an appointment visit www.blood.co.uk, call 0300 123 2323 or follow NHSBT at http://www.facebook.com/NHSBlood or www.twitter.com/NHSGiveBlood.  

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