NHS addresses shortage of ethnic organ and blood donors with £600,000 funding

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The funding aims to reduce health inequalities in these groups and save more lives

The Community Grants Programme led by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has dedicated £600,000 to address the shortage of organ and blood donors from black, Asian and mixed ethnic backgrounds.

The funding builds on the ongoing commitment by the government and the NHS to address health inequalities for individuals who need life-saving transplants or regular blood transfusions.

The Community Grants Programme funds projects led by community, faith or belief organisations to provide greater awareness and support for donations, particularly among black and Asian communities.

Furthermore, the scheme aims to inform and recruit more donors of black heritage to treat people with sickle cell disease, the fastest growing blood disorder in the UK, which is more prevalent in people of this heritage.

The NHSBT is seeking applications to engage diverse communities across England and Wales and is offering the opportunity for two-year grants of up to £20,000 per year.

The funds available include £300,000 for blood donation projects, £150,000 for living kidney donation projects and £150,000 for deceased organ donation projects.

Dame Andrea Leadsom, minister for public health and primary care, commented: “Blood and organ donations are crucial to saving lives, and this year’s funding underscores our commitment to initiatives aimed at inspiring donations and enhancing awareness within our diverse communities.”

Umar Malik, Community funding manager, NHSBT, said: “By continuing to work closely with community groups, our goal is to initiate conversations and tackle misinformation to reduce the health inequalities that many within these groups may encounter and save more lives.”

In December 2023, the UK Health Security Agency published the Inequalities in emergency hospital admission rates for influenza and COVID-19 report from September 2022 to February 2023, which revealed that COVID-19 and flu rates, as well as emergency hospital admission rates, were significantly higher in ethnic groups and those living in deprived areas.

Based on these results, the UKHSA encouraged individuals from these communities to book their influenza and COVID-19 vaccines.

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