LOUISIANA - LOPA is participating in National Multi-ethnic Donor Awareness Month (NMDAM) to bring heightened awareness to health disparities, and organ donation and transplantation’s impact in multi-ethnic communities. While the gap between the demand for organ transplants and the supply of donated organs is the number one problem in transplantation as a whole, the disparity is
greater in multi-ethnic communities.
In Louisiana, 68% of the waitlist is multi-ethnic--that is higher than the national average of 60%.
“The need for donation and transplant is more pronounced in multi-ethnic communities. They have disproportionately higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease--all of which contribute to organ failure, especially kidney failure,” said LOPA community educator Cheryl McGee-Hills.
“This group makes up over 70% of those who are waiting for kidney transplant.” National statistics show that African Americans are three times more likely than white Americans to have kidney failure, while Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.
African American transplant candidates also have longer wait times than non-African American transplant candidates for kidney, heart and lung transplants. “These healthcare disparities are why efforts such as National Multi-ethnic Donor Awareness Month are so important,” McGee-Hills said. Even though a record number of nearly 40,000 people, including more than 18,000 multi-ethnic individuals, received the gift of life in 2020, the gap remains staggeringly high. On average, 20 people die everyday waiting for a transplant.