Organ donation scheme to be in operation by 2015

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, November 23, 2012
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Since a pilot organ donation scheme was launched by the Red Cross Society of China in 2010, 38 hospitals have obtained 1,279 organs from 465 donors.

South China's Guangdong Province had the largest number of donors - 100, Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu announced in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, on Wednesday, China News Service reported yesterday.

Huang said the system would be in full swing in the next one or two years by which time China will be able to phase out its reliance on organs from executed prisoners.

China passed a law in 2007 which strengthened supervision of organ transplants but it failed to solve problems such as questionable sources, an acute shortage of organs, and illegal organ transactions.

Each year, about 1.5 million people are on the waiting list for transplants, but only about 10,000 can get one due to a lack of organs.

Huang said that a cautious approach had been taken with the pilot scheme and it was in operation in only a tenth of the country's qualified hospitals.

The system would eventually replace the practice of taking organs from executed prisoners after relevant policies and facilities were in place, he said.

The trial adopted the criteria of donations after both cardiac death and brain death. Currently China has no legislation that covers brain death.

Huang said organs from people whose hearts had stopped have shown better clinical effects than using executed prisoners' organs and showed similar effects to using organs from people declared brain dead, as was the practice in the West.

At a meeting of the World Health Organization in 2005, Huang admitted for the first time that executed prisoners, with their prior consent, were the major source of organs in China. He told the meeting it was time for the country to move on and develop an ethical and sustainable organ donation system.

Huang wrote in the March issue of The Lancet that China had 8.9 million potential organ donors in 2006, including 60,000 who died in traffic accidents.

Huang said more education and campaigns would be launched to highlight the importance of organ donation.

In his article, Huang also cited ethical and legal issues associated with transplants, including the use of so many organs from executed prisoners.

"About 65 percent of transplant operations in China use organs from deceased donors, more 90 percent of whom were executed prisoners," he wrote.

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