Vital Organs and Black People

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Assistant Editor- | Last updated: Mar 13, 2015 - 11:31:14 AM

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(L-R) Nadirah Muhammad and A’ja Booth embrace three days after operation. A mask was worn because A’ja’s immune system was still low. Nadirah donated her kidney to A'jah. Read more on their story, "An Unparalleled Act of Love".
( - The need for Black people to donate suitable kidneys for transplants is disproportionately high.

Because of increased levels of high blood pressure and diabetes existing within the Black community, the need is greater, however it is for those very same reasons the suitable donor pool is smaller.

According to statistics from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), almost 35 percent of the more than 100,000 people on the national waiting list for kidney transplants are Black.

While it is possible to find a kidney match from a member of a different race, according to the Mayo Clinic, which is the first and largest integrated nonprofit medical group practice in the world, “all individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background. This is because compatible blood types and tissue markers—critical qualities for donor/recipient matching—are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity.”

Certain blood types are prevalent in certain ethnic populations, and matching blood types are key for successful transplants. It is not just kidneys that are needed. Black people are nearly 25 percent of those waiting for hearts.

Mistrust due to America’s nefarious dealings and unethical medical experimentation with Blacks, and poor health facilities existing in Black communities are factors, however, frank and honest discussions regarding organ donations within Black communities are long overdue.

There are many questions regarding donating organs, as well as the decision-making process which determines who receives donated organs and when. In future editions of The Final Call, we will delve into this, as well as illegal organ traffi cking and organ harvesting taking place in America and abroad.