Oct 21st 2013
Members of the Sikh community urged to register as organ donors
Sikhs from the Midlands and across the UK are being urged to join the NHS Organ Donor Register and tell their loved ones their wishes.
Members of the Asian community are more likely to need a transplant but will wait longer than the general population for a donor and they may not get the organ they need. Only around 2% of organ donors each year are Asian but the community makes up nearly a fifth of those who need a transplant.
A series of TV programmes, Organ Donation – let’s make a difference, will air from next week (w/c 28 October), aiming to raise awareness and bust myths around organ donation.
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust’s organ donation committee joined forces with Sangat Television, the Sikh community TV channel with a studio in Birmingham, to produce the series.
Supported by NHS Blood and Transplant, the organ donation organisation for the UK, five programmes have been made and will air on Sangat TV (Sky channel 847 and online at http://sangattelevision.org/). The first episode will be broadcast on Tuesday 29 October at 8.30pm. The following four episodes will be shown at the same time each week until the final programme airs on Tuesday 26 November.
Dr John Bleasdale, clinical lead for organ donation at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, explained: “The hospital organ donation committee and Sangat TV wanted to raise awareness about the need for organ donors among the Sikh community.
“We believe organ donation fits with the Sikh faith and that there is a real need in this community for more donors.
“If more people registered more lives could be saved and members of the community might not face waiting longer than others when they need a transplant.”
The shows, which are in a mix of Punjabi and English, feature a local man, Satnam Kang, who is waiting for a kidney transplant and talks about the difficulties of being on dialysis at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Mr Kang, aged 53, who lives in the city, has needed a transplant since 2006. He said: “I have to work round dialysis, it doesn’t control my life – I don’t let it but I have to plan everything. It doesn’t just impact me but the whole family.
“I urge people to join the Organ Donor Register, you could give somebody their life back. And it is not just that person you’d be helping, but their family and friends.”
Local recipients, Anju Kaur, Pritpal Singh Sanghera and Jaswinder Dhaliwal, talk about their lives before their transplants and how they have been transformed since they received a new kidney.
Manjinder Kaur Jagdev, from Norwich, explains her family’s decision to donate her mother’s organs and the comfort this has brought them.
Local clinicians, from City Hospital, Birmingham and medics from further afield plus experts in organ donation and the Asian community, also take part.
Joga Singh, Sikh chaplain at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The aim of the filming was not only to explore Sikh perspectives towards organ donation, but also to harness the potential of the Sikh community to address this important social issue.
“Sikhs have strong social networks and share common values of helping others; the Sikh philosophy and teachings place great emphasis on the importance of giving and putting others before oneself.
“There are no taboos attached to organ donation in Sikhi, nor is there a requirement that a body should have all its organs intact at or after death, so I would encourage all Sikhs to join the organ donation register and give the gift of life.”
It is hoped the shows will encourage more people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register and tell their family their wishes.
Jude Martin, specialist nurse in organ donation with NHS Blood and Transplant who is based at City Hospital, Birmingham, looking after donors and their families, said: “Transplants save lives but without donation, there can be no transplantation. We need more people to donate to save even more lives.”
You can watch the programmes on Tuesdays at 8.30pm on Sangat TV on SKY channel 847 or on the web at http://sangattelevision.org.
Further information and details on how to become an organ donor can be found by visiting www.organdonation.nhs.uk or by telephoning 0300 123 23 23.
For more information on organ donation, statistics and interviews with the case studies and/or organ donation spokespeople, please contact Cherry Brown or Penny Richardson in the NHS Blood and Transplant press office on 01923 367600, out of hours on 0117 969 2444.
To contact Sangat Television and get more information on this initiative from the Sikh community you can contact Nirmal Singh, producer and director, on 0121 760 0000 or email nirmal@SangatTelevision.org.
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