A public forum to promote organ donation amongst Asians: the Scottish initiative

Lyndsay S Baines, John T Joseph, Rahul M Jindal
Transplant International 2002, 15 (2): 124-31
There is a chronic shortage of organs for transplantation in the UK. This problem is particularly acute amongst Asians living within the UK. The Transplant Unit, University of Glasgow, joined forces with local businessmen to initiate a public meeting to promote awareness of transplant issues affecting Asians in the greater Glasgow area. During the Forum, we conducted a survey to determine the level of knowledge about organ transplantation, donation and willingness to donate, in relationship to the age, gender, marital status and religious affiliation amongst the attendees. The Forum was conducted at a public hall after publicity in the local press and Asian shops. The meeting was attended by over 300 people of Asian origin. Of the 90 survey forms handed out, 80 were returned fully completed. There was almost no opposition to organ donation, and many of the respondents were aware that religious leaders in the UK had endorsed organ donation. However, favourable disposition to these issues was not accompanied by carrying of the organ donor card, despite an awareness of the National Donor Register. The majority of the respondents were willing to undergo live organ donation, but were undecided about cadaveric donation. The issue of presumed consent drew mixed responses. Asians in the Glasgow region are not sympathetic to the matter of organ transplantation and donation, despite their recognition of the issues of organ shortage. We suggest that the matter needs to be further integrated into Asian culture by religious leaders and business persons. Our findings indicate that women over the age of 30 and based in the home may be in a unique position of influence by virtue of their position of centrality within the social network. This approach may also be suitable in other areas of the UK and the world with a large number of ethnic minorities.

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