Dapo Odumeru, who has been with NHS Blood and Transplant since 2005 made it his personal mission to raise awareness of blood and organ donation with the Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. His hard work has been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Dapo, Regional Quality Assurance Manager in the South East for NHS Blood and Transplant, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services for promoting blood and organ donation in the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities (BAME).
Dapo said: “When we found out about the MBE my wife and I fell to our knees, we are so very grateful that our work raising awareness of organ and blood donation in the BAME communities and supporting blood transfusion in low income countries has been recognised.”
More people from BAME communities are needed to donate blood and register as organ donors. People from these communities are more likely to have rarer blood types and conditions like Sickle Cell Disease, which require regular blood transfusions. Blood from donors with a similar ethnic background gives the best match and outcomes in the long term. However, less than 4% of people who have given blood in England in the last 12 months come from BAME communities, although they make up around 14% of the total UK population.
Patients from black and South Asian communities are also over-represented on the transplant waiting list as 27% of patients are from ethnic minorities. Blood and tissue types need to match for a successful transplant and organs from people from the same ethnic background are more likely to be a close match.
Dapo founded the Blood for Life charity in 2010 to raise awareness of blood and organ donation with the BAME communities and to support donation in low income countries, by providing medical equipment and training. Following on from his international aid work he saw encouraging blood and organ donation in the UK’s African and Caribbean communities as a calling.
Dapo continued: “Getting the award is so very humbling, everything I’ve done would not have been possible without the support of my loving wife and family, donors and their families, colleagues within NHS Blood and Transplant and partners such as the RAFFA international development agency.”
“This award does not mark the end of my work, it is just the beginning. I’ll be working to engage with the community through the NHSBT Donor Ambassador Programme to encourage the BAME communities to sign up to the organ donor register and to give blood”
Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are very proud that Dapo has received this honour, he rightly deserves it as the work he is doing is vital. We need more people from the BAME communities to register as organ donors and donate blood. He is helping save lives through his international charity work and by raising awareness of blood and organ donation in the BAME communities.”
MBE’s are awarded for a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community and for ‘hands-on’ service, which stands out as an example to other people. To find out more about the charity Dapo founded charity, Blood for Life, please visit:
In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.
To find out more or book an appointment visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
• For additional information please contact the NHS Blood and Transplant press office on 01923 367600 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
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Notes to editors
• NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We are responsible for ensuring a safe and efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England. We are also the organ donation organisation for the UK and are responsible for matching and allocating donated organs.
• We are an essential part of the NHS and take pride in saving and improving lives by making the most of every voluntary donation, from blood and organs to tissues and stem cells.
• Our work would not be possible without our donors - ordinary people doing extraordinary things by saving and improving the lives of others.
• To find out more visit: www.nhsbt.nhs.uk
• Follow us on social media
o Twitter: @NHSBT
o Facebook: www.facebook.com/nhsbloodandtransplant
• Blood donors can search for sessions, book appointments, change/cancel their appointments and change their contact details in real time at www.blood.co.uk
• There are apps available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for sessions based on their location and book and manage appointments.
• Our donor line - 0300 123 23 23 - is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all calls charged at the standard local rate, even from mobile phones
• NHS Blood and Transplant needs to collect 1.6 million units of blood each year to meet the needs of patients across England. It’s important that we collect the right amount of each blood group at the right time to meet patient needs.
• There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. Group O is the most common and therefore the most in demand. A regular supply of blood is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days
• The overall demand for blood is falling by 3-4% per year. This is due to improvements in clinical practice and is a trend that is being seen around the world. The drop in demand for blood is also thanks to our work with hospitals to ensure blood is used appropriately for patients.
• We need just under 200,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who no longer donate for reasons such as ill health, pregnancy or foreign travel and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future
• Some blood groups, such as O negative (the universal blood group), A negative and B negative are particularly vulnerable to shortfalls. So we want people with those blood groups to donate as regularly as they can. We also need more black African, black Caribbean, mixed race and South Asian people to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients
• Female whole blood donors can give blood every 16 weeks, while male blood donors must wait 12 weeks between donations. Platelets can be donated every 2 weeks.
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