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The influence of religion on organ donation and transplantation among the Black Caribbean and Black African population--a pilot study in the United Kingdom.

Ethnicity & disease

Adolescent, Tissue and Organ Procurement, Religion and Medicine, Organ Transplantation, Middle Aged, Male, Humans, Great Britain, Focus Groups, Female, ethnology, Caribbean Region, Africa, Adult

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      Currently the demand for transplant organs, particularly kidneys, far outstrips the supply in the United Kingdom. This problem is particularly severe for the Black African and Black Caribbean populations who have a higher predisposition to end-stage renal failure. Several commentators have suggested that religious and cultural traditions may be the major determinant preventing Black Africans and Black Caribbeans from donating organs. An exploratory qualitative study using focus groups was undertaken with the aim of examining the influence of religion, among other things, on the extent and direction of public attitudes toward organ donation in a cross-section of the Black African and Black Caribbean populations in Lambeth, Southwark, and Lewisham. In almost every focus group, religion and faith were expressed as issues that could prevent Black people from becoming organ donors. Organ donation was debated with caution on the basis of how their religious experience had influenced them. This finding suggests that the church and faith leaders could play a greater role in raising awareness of organ donation in these communities. Religious leaders can reach large numbers of people in a short space of time and will assist members of any group to understand more fully the religious stance on the subject matter. This education, in the long term, may lead to more people becoming organ donors.

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