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Nurse's campaign recruits 3,000 new South Asian organ donors

Manchester Royal Infirmary Nurse Agimol Pradeep's five year targeted education campaign has resulted in 3,000 new South Asians signing up to be organ donors potentially giving up to 25,000 people the life-saving transplant they need.

Agimol Pradeep

Agimol, a Transplant Recipient Co-ordinator at Manchester Royal Infirmary, began her PhD study in 2012, however her campaign to dispel the myths surrounding organ donation amongst members of the South Asian community began in 2010 when she began her current role.

Asian people are three to four times more likely to need a kidney transplant than the general population and blood and tissue type are among the most important factors when organs are allocated to patients.

Organ matching is likely to be closer when the ethnicity of the donor and recipient are the same yet national figures show that South Asians wait three times longer than white people due to difficulties in finding a successful match.

She said: "I hadn't experienced first-hand the need for donors from this particular group, until that point. It seemed to me there was this huge need for more awareness and education.

"Being South Asian myself, I felt I could provide a trusted link to others, raise awareness and help to dispel some of the misunderstandings by talking face to face."

Agimol has spoken at events and conferences across the country as part of her PhD study entitled: 'Increasing Organ Donation from the North West South Asian Community through Targeted Education'.

As well as voluntarily speaking at events, Agimol also takes time to work with community and religious leaders, GPs and intensive care units to introduce strategies to increase donation and educate Asian people about the benefits of organ donation and joining the donor register.

Further to her campaign to find organ donors, Agimol has also actively campaigned to find stem cell donors - a form of donation that anyone can do at any time by donating blood. She has recruited 800 people in the last 12 months whose donation will be used to treat South Asians suffering from blood cancers.

Agimol has been assisted in her campaign by Muslim Imam at Manchester Royal Infirmary, Siddiq Diwan who has offered expert support for any religious concerns that members of the community may have. Agimol said: "Religion does play a huge role in the debate of organ donation. Siddiq's help has been invaluable in clarifying some of the misinterpretations or apprehensions people may have about registering to be an organ donor and how the processes of donation fit into religious culture."

Agimol said: "During the past five years, I've learnt that it's not necessarily that people don't want to register to donate - they may not know about it, or may have misinterpreted or misunderstood what registering actually means, the donation process and how it can benefit others. I've found that people are very responsive to the message of donation and my motto of 'Accept life, live life and give life.'"

Frequently asked questions about organ donation can be found here:

http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/how_to_become_a_donor/questions/