Maz’s story – helping to tackle the shortage of organ donors in minority ethnic communities
Maz is a patient helping to tackle the shortage of organ donors in Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities across the UK.
Maz is one of a growing number of champions, Peer Educators, helping to tackle the shortage of organ donors in Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities across the UK.
Getting more donors on the register
Today, over a third of the people in the UK waiting for a kidney transplant are from BAME communities. However, people from these communities make up less than 4% of the NHS Organ Donor Register.
To give a kidney transplant the best chance of success, it’s important that there is a strong match between the organ donor and the person receiving the transplant.
Because of his experiences, Maz has joined a group of trained champions called Peer Educators as part of a project managed by Kidney Research UK, designed to increase the number of donors from these communities on the register. More people on the register means more lives saved.
Even if my work encourages one person to sign up to the organ donor register, and make someone’s life better, I will feel like I have helped achieve something. Maz Ali
Maz was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) in 1990, and his kidney function declined gradually from then on. In 2012 his kidneys failed completely and he started dialysis.
His doctor initially told him that the average wait for a kidney transplant was five or six years for an Asian patient, due to a lack of suitable donors. Thankfully, Maz was on dialysis for 11 months before receiving a kidney from a deceased donor.
Maz said: “I know how hard it is for certain communities to talk about donation. Sometimes religious beliefs can act as a barrier to donation – I’m Muslim and I know there is concern that organ donation is un-Islamic. But it can save lives, so it’s important we spread the word amongst our peers.”
There are almost 6,000 people in the UK waiting for a kidney transplant, of those, over 1,000 are Asian. A kidney from someone of the same ethnic group is likely to lead to a better matched organ, making it available sooner.
The peer educator model has been used by Kidney Research UK within communities facing similar health issues across the UK. The charity has successfully encouraged over 2,700 people groups to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.
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