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Organ Transplant List to Be Released Soon
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The authorities are busy evaluating medical institutions to determine which ones are qualified to carry out organ transplants, said the Ministry of Health.

The list of approved institutions will be released soon.

The ratification process has been proceeding smoothly and in line with the Regulation on Human Organ Transplants, which will take effect on May 1, spokesman Mao Qun'an said at the ministry's regular press conference yesterday in Beijing.

The regulation - which has been dubbed a milestone in the development of organ transplants in China - lays out strict guidelines for medical institutions allowed to perform such procedures.

The procedure is known as much for its ability to save lives as it is as a source of malpractice.

Hospitals and medical institutions from across the country have submitted applications to be certified to perform transplants.

Mao said all applications were being evaluated in accordance with the rules.

A panel of experts convened by the health ministry to carry out the approval work will have the final say on issuing passes to eligible hospitals, Mao said.

Unqualified doctors caught carrying out organ transplants will have their licenses revoked and face fines, as will their clinics, added Mao.

Meanwhile, the ministry also released its monthly infection report yesterday. The report rated tuberculosis (TB), which claimed 202 lives in March, as the top pandemic killer among all the infectious diseases occurring on the Chinese mainland last month.

Rabies, hepatitis B, AIDS and infant tetanus were the next biggest killers, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the 613 deaths caused by infectious diseases during the period.

The top five infections in terms of prevalence were TB, hepatitis B, syphilis, diarrhea and gonorrhea.

TB has been the most deadly pandemic disease for several years in row. There are about 5 million TB patients in China, 80 percent of whom live in the countryside, statistics from the Ministry of Health show.

In 2001, the State Council promised free examinations and treatment for all Chinese citizens infected with TB. It has earmarked 40 million yuan ($5.17 million) every year to pay for the fight. The fund had grown to 400 million yuan ($51.7 million) as of last year.

The country reported 11,176 cases of measles and 5,753 cases of German measles in March, up nearly 1.2 percent and 33 percent respectively over the same period last year.

Measles cases have been spreading fast since the beginning of this year and sporadic outbreaks of the disease occasionally show up in schools.

(China Daily April 11, 2007)

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