A nurse from King’s who has spent ten years promoting organ donation in black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities across the country has been awarded a British Empire Medal.
Agimol Pradeep, who works as a liver transplant coordinator, gives up much of her spare time to speak to members of BAME communities in an effort to encourage more people to join the organ donor register.
“Asian people and those from other ethnic minorities are overrepresented on the transplant waiting list – because they are more prone to conditions that may lead to them needing a transplant,” said Agimol. “However, there are fewer people from BAME communities who donate their organs. Transplants tend to be more successful if there is a tissue match and this is more likely if the organ comes from someone who is a similar ethnicity.
“It means that patients from ethnic minorities tend to wait longer for a transplant. A lot those I talked to started thinking that they were being discriminated against, because they would see a white patient getting a transplant before them.
“But I knew there wasn’t any discrimination involved and I didn’t want those patients to blame the NHS in this way - I am really proud to work for the NHS, it’s such a blessing. I felt it was my duty to encourage people in BAME communities to join the organ donor register and to talk about that decision with their families so that more organs might become available for the patients who need them.”
When Agimol, from Ashford in Kent, first started volunteering she was working at Manchester Royal Infirmary and she spent much or time speaking to BAME communities in the north west region. “I went to any community gathering that would allow me to speak – it didn’t matter what religion or how many people were there,” she said “Even if I had just a ten minute slot I would tell them the facts and bring organ donor forms with me.”
But since she started working at King’s three years ago she has been working throughout the south of England to reach Asian communities here.
“I still go out whenever I can,” she said. “I don’t mind – my family is very supportive and it’s my passion and I know it is helping to save lives.”
Agimol said that she will be invited to a local ceremony in Kent where she will be presented with her medal. She will then be invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace.