British Muslims across London joined others to give blood under the Islamic Unity Society’s (IUS) Imam Hussain (AS) Blood Donation Campaign (IHBDC).
The event, held at the Islamic Centre of England in Maida Vale, marked the 10th anniversary of the campaign and the launch of an official partnership between the IHBDC and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
NHSBT needs just under 200,000 new donors to attend a session to give blood this year and there is a particular need to attract more younger donors (from 17 years old) and people from South Asian, Arab and black communities.
Currently, only one per cent of people who have given blood in England in the last 12 months come from black communities and only two per cent come from South Asian or mixed race communities. Less than 1 per cent come from the Arab community.
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, Ehsan Rangiha, Chairman, Islamic Unity Society People from South Asian, Arab and black communities are more likely to have rarer blood types and conditions, like Thalassaemia or Sickle Cell Disease respectively, which require regular blood transfusions.
People who require regular blood transfusions need blood from donors with a similar ethnic background to provide the best match and better outcomes in the long term.
Article continues after... More Articles Zayn Malik’s clothing line features Urdu artwork'Vile' and 'hateful' protest leads to eviction of asylum...Malala visits world's In 2015 alone, the IHBDC delivered over 48 dedicated blood donation drives, resulting in the collection of almost 600 units of blood. As each unit of blood collected has the potential to save or improve up to three lives, in total IUS donors could have saved or improved the lives of up to 1,800 people in just one year of the ten year campaign.
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHSBT said: "The Islamic Unity Society has done a magnificent job helping us to raise awareness of blood donation.
"Working together we have recruited hundreds of new donors and we look forward to this partnership continuing to grow.
"We urgently need more donors from black and South Asian communities and would encourage anyone considering blood donation to book an appointment and help save lives.”
Growing year on year, the campaign which began as a single drive in Manchester, now collects blood up and down the UK, throughout the year, with the help of a network of volunteers made up predominantly of students and young professionals.
IUS Chairman added: "The Imam Hussain Blood Donation Campaign has been doing a fantastic job over the past ten years, during which it has saved many lives.
"The initiative is inspired by the teachings of Islam which dignifies and honours human life, and commands Muslims to do everything to respect and preserve it.
"The NHSBT has been instrumental in giving us the platform to carry out this important work, and this official partnership further strengthens our commitment to supporting blood donation in the UK.
"Finally, I would like to thank Islamic Centre of England for hosting today’s blood drive, and all of those involved from both organizations for their tireless efforts to improve and save the lives of others.”