Awareness and attitudes towards organ donation and transplantation among the asian population. A preliminary survey in Luton, UK

Transpl Int. 1999;12(5):365-71. doi: 10.1007/s001470050241.


Currently the demand for transplant organs, particularly kidneys, far outstrips the supply in the UK. This problem is particularly severe for the Asian population, which has been shown to have a disproportionately large representation on kidney-transplant waiting lists in some regions of the UK. The situation is clear: there is an urgent need to address the number of Asians requiring a kidney transplant, otherwise the human and economic costs will be very high. An exploratory qualitative study was therefore undertaken with the aim of assessing current awareness of organ donation and transplantation and to explore attitudes towards these issues in a cross section of the Asian population in Luton. It was found that nearly half of the respondents in this survey did not know what a donor card was used for, and approximately half of these had never seen one; only 6 of the 64 people interviewed had heard of the National Donor Register. Of the three people who carried a donor card, two had an immediate family member who had received a transplant. This suggests that media campaigns aimed at attracting donors from the Asian population have had limited success thus far. It appears that the vast majority of the Asian population is at the initial stage of the process of making a decision about donating their organs, that of simply knowing that transplantation takes place. Very little debate of pertinent issues seems to have taken place, which is essential for reaching a decision on whether or not to donate an organ. The study should be seen as exploratory but is nonetheless an important initial step towards the establishment of a greater knowledge and understanding of the issues affecting the low donation rate in the Asian population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Attitude*
  • Awareness
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Tissue Donors*