43 Commonwealth countries unite to increase organ donation, tackle health inequalities

PTI | London | Updated: 06-08-2022 16:29 IST | Created: 06-08-2022 16:22 IST
43 Commonwealth countries unite to increase organ donation, tackle health inequalities
Representative Image Image Credit: Wikipedia
  • Country:
  • United Kingdom

As part of the Commonwealth Games legacy, 43 Commonwealth countries and 19 national and international organisations have come together to share expertise in organ donation and transplantation and to save more lives globally.

The 'Commonwealth Tribute to Life Project', led by NHS Blood and Transplant, is the culmination of three years' work and provides a framework for the sharing of knowledge and expertise to increase ethical organ donation and transplantation. It seeks to further health equality for the benefit of all Commonwealth citizens.

''We are delighted after three years of work, to see so many of the organ donation and transplant community from around the world coming together in a shared commitment to improve organ donation rates and save more lives,'' said Dr Satya Sharma MBE, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands who has Chaired the project.

''This Memorandum of Understanding unites us all in one shared vision for the future of organ donation and transplantation and has the ability to help us tackle the global issue of health inequalities,'' he said.

An official legacy project of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and part of the Games 'United By Birmingham 2022' community programme, the project presents a unique opportunity to increase levels of organ and tissue donation and transplantation globally.

To celebrate this occasion, organ donation representatives from many of the countries who have signed up to a shared Memorandum of Understanding, as well as transplant recipients and living donors from across the UK with Commonwealth Heritage have come together in a symbolic video that shows the team of volunteers passing a virtual heart around the world: from the UK, to Barbados, South Africa, Canada, Bangladesh and Australia among others.

"Wherever you are in the world, we urge you to talk to your friends and family and leave them certain of your organ donation decision. Through the gift of organ donation, each one of us has the potential to save lives," Sharma said.

In the lead-up to the Games, several organ recipients and living donors were also selected to take part in the Commonwealth Games Baton Relay. Two of these participants – NHS radiographer Surinder Sapal and Makena Straker-Sharpe – feature in the new film.

The World Health Organisation Global Observatory on Donation and Transplantation estimates that there were over 146,000 organs transplanted in 2018 worldwide. This gift of life came from the generosity of over 40,000 living donors and nearly 39,000 deceased organ donors.

However, the rate of donation varies from zero donors in some Commonwealth nations to over 20 per million population in countries like Australia, Canada, Malta and the UK.

Yet in the United Kingdom, over 6,400 people are waiting for an organ transplant, and Black, Asian, Mixed or Other ethnic minority backgrounds represent around a third of those on the transplant list.

The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. After India, the next-largest Commonwealth countries by population are Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and the United Kingdom.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback