Wednesday, February 24, 1999 Published at 12:15 GMT
More Asian organs needed
The campaign will raise awareness in the Asian community
The government has launched a campaign to encourage more Asian people to become organ donors.
A severe shortage of Asian donor organs means that Asian people who undergo transplant operations often have to receive organs from people from other races.
However, inter-racial transplants increase the risk of the transplanted organ being rejected.
Thirteen per cent of patients awaiting transplants are from the Indian sub-continent.
However, only 3% of the UK population are of Asian origin - leading to a shortfall in supply of suitable organs.
There is also resistance to the concept of donating organs within some of the Asian communities.
The government is launching a campaign to encourage more Asian people to donate organs for transplant on Wednesday.
Advertising the demand
The South Asian Community Organ Donation Campaign will use advertising to increase awareness of the number of people on waiting lists for transplants.
The campaign is part of a three-year strategy to increase the number of organ donors from ethnic minorities.
Lords Health Minister Baroness Hayman launched the campaign along with journalist Martin Bashir.
Baroness Hayman said: "This is an innovative and exciting element to the overall campaign.
"We are aware that ethnic minority communities have very specific concerns and issues to address about organ donation.
Mr Bashir said: "It is great to see the Government taking such a pro-active approach and building long lasting bridges with the Asian community.
"There is no doubt in my mind that we, as a community, need to be positive about organ donation.
"It is a difficult and sensitive issue, but the fact is we can help others from our own community by passing the message on."