Organ donations increase, but yet to meet transplant demands

Cai Wenjun
Of 1.5 million people with organ failure in China and 300,000 who require organ transplants, only about 10,000 people receive transplants annually due to a shortage of donations.
Cai Wenjun

A total of 1,594 Chinese donated organs after their deaths in the recent three months, 13 percent higher than the same period last year.

Over 6.26 million people have registered to be organ donors after their death, of which 45,800 have since passed with 139,700 organs donated, according to the National Health Commission.

"Organ donation is an important measure to save people with organ failure and it is highly respectful behavior," said Zhao Hongtao from the China Organ Transplant Development Foundation at a conference in Shanghai on Sunday, when a policy on field research on organ distribution and sharing was launched with its first station in Shanghai.

"Though organ donation has risen in the nation, the donation rate among per million population was 3.98 in China last year, lower than the international level. In some developed countries, 80 percent of the population are registered donors,"

The current number of organ donations can't meet the demand of patients in need of transplants.

There are 1.5 million people with organ failure in the nation and 300,000 of them require organ transplants. However, only about 10,000 people receive transplants annually due to a shortage of donations.

China began an organ donation mechanism in 2010 and has established an organ transplant response system to achieve scientific, fair and open organ distribution.

Fan Jia, president of Zhongshan Hospital, said Zhongshan was one of the first batch of medical facilities to carry out organ donations in the nation. So far, it has launched liver, heart, kidney and lung transplants and performed more 280 organ transplants last year.

"Though medical technologies and skills are improving quickly, many patients are still waiting for organs. Most of our patients with liver failure wait for half a year or over one year to get a liver and some of them have died before getting an organ," he said.

"The shortage of organ donations is the major reason. We should call for organ donation through public education and campaigns and encourage more people to become donors."

The National Health Commission will also amend the organ donation and transplant regulations to refine the organ donation system, improve transplant capability, and ensure scientific and fair organ distribution, officials said.

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