Kidney Research UK’s awareness work about organ donation within Muslim communities has taken a step forward this summer.
A special one-off event exploring issues around organ donation within Islam was held in Edinburgh’s Annandale Mosque on 7 July.
Bushra Riaz, Peer Educator Coordinator based in Scotland, organised the event as an opportunity for Muslims in the local community to learn more about kidney disease and to understand the Islamic perspective on organ donation.
Bushra said: “We wanted to hold the event to help raise awareness and educate the Muslim community of Edinburgh about kidney disease and the importance of becoming an organ donor, due to the shortage but much larger need for organs from within black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
“These communities are at higher risk of developing organ failure but are also less likely to be an organ donor because of religious beliefs, cultural differences and so on.”
The latest NHSBT statistics show that for the year 2017/18, 35% of the total number of patients on the waiting list for a kidney transplant were from BAME communities, with waiting times around 2 ½ years.
Presenters invited included: Islamic Scholar, Shaykh Hassan Rabbani, who presented the theological for and against arguments about organ donation within Islam, Jelina Berlow-Rahman, human rights lawyer and kidney transplant patient, Dr Radha Sandaram who spoke about the donation process, and Royal Edinburgh Infirmary Transplant coordinator, Sarah Lundie.
There were opportunities throughout the day to ask questions and have extended discussions.
Bushra continued: “Feedback from those attending and from the speakers has been very positive, also that the meeting was useful and timely.
“Jelina’s candid and brave account of her journey showed clearly the life-saving nature of transplants, and we learned more about the donation process and the care that is taken with that. Shaykh Rabbani provided a thoughtful and valuable explanation of organ donation in Islam.
“Wider feedback from the community is that we should provide a further event, encouraging more people to attend.”
A further event is being planned for Glasgow in the autumn.
Find out more about Kidney Research UK’s peer educator projects which aim to tackle health inequalities within BAME communities.
Sign the organ donor register here: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/
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