The UK government has announced the launch of a new celebrity-backed campaign aimed at increasing organ and stem cell donation rates.
A campaign to promote organ donation is running in the UK this week (July 9 to 15), run by the UK National Health Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) authority. Organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ of the human body, from a living or dead person to a living recipient in need of a transplantation. In the UK, those who are willing to donate organs in the event of their death carry as special organ donor card and sign up to a register.
To help promote the campaign, the UK government have enlisted the help of singers Alesha Dixon and Beverley Knight, as well as actors David Harewood, who was in the movie "Blood Diamond" and Colin Salmon, who featured in the TV series "Prime Suspect".
The theme of this year’s campaign is targeted at black, Asian and minority ethnic populations, given that the proportion from this community who have registered as organ donors is very small. The title of the week is ‘Pass it On’, designed, according to The Courier, to highlight the importance of people passing on the important message of organ donation to their family and friends.
The authority reports that each year around 180 people from these groups die waiting for a transplant because of a longstanding shortage of suitable organs.
The initiative is supported by various charities and organizations, including the African Caribbean Leukemia Trust, the National Kidney Federation, and the South Asian Health Foundation.
Public health minister Anne Milton is quoted by Zenopa as saying: "We want everyone to join the NHS Organ Donor Register and make the time to discuss their wishes with family members so they know what to do."
According to NHS Blood and Transplant data, more than 10,000 people in the UK currently need a transplant, with around 1,000 a year dying due to a lack of available organs