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Organ donations on rise, with most in Guangdong

By Wang Xiaodong | China Daily | Updated: 2019-12-11 04:16

Organ donation in China has been gaining increasing public support in recent years, with the number of donors rising fast, according to a latest report.

Last year, 6,302 people on the Chinese mainland donated organs after death, compared with 2,766 in 2015, ranking second after the United States. The number of donors per million people increased from 2.01 in 2015 to 4.53 last year, according to the report released by the China Organ Transplantation Development Foundation.

More than 18,000 people on the mainland made postmortem donations between 2015 and last year, said the report, released during the fourth China International Organ Donation Conference, held in Kunming, Yunnan province, from Friday to Sunday.

By the end of last year, the mainland had 169 medical institutions certified to perform organ transplant surgeries, with Guangdong province ranking at the top of the list with 19, followed by Beijing with 16, the report said.

Guangdong also ranked No 1 among provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the mainland in the number of donors between 2015 and last year, with 2,400 people from the province having donated organs after death during the four years.

The median age of all mainland donors in those four years was 44, and those under 18 comprised about 11 percent in the four years, according to the report. Males accounted for 81 percent of all donors.

The two major causes of death for donors during that time were injuries from accidents and vascular diseases of the brain, accounting for nearly 87 percent of all deaths.

Guo Yanhong, an official at the National Health Commission's Medical Administration and Supervision Department, said in addition to significant improvement in the number of organ donation and transplant surgeries performed, organ transplant technologies in China have been improving, resulting in longer and higher quality life for organ recipients.

Over 90 percent of all patients receiving heart transplants in China live more than one year after their surgeries, a higher level than in most countries, she said.

Wang Hesheng, vice-minister of the National Health Commission, said that while China has made great progress in improving its organ donation and transplantation systems, resulting in rapid increases in organ donations, many challenges still exist.

"Although China ranked among the top in the world last year in the number of organ transplant surgeries completed and the number of organs donated, great gaps still remain with the demand from patients," he said.

Guo, from the National Health Commission, said in addition to supporting the fast growth of organ donations and transplantation, the commission will put more emphasis on optimizing distribution of high quality medical resources among different regions, so patients in need in less developed western areas can benefit from better organ transplant services and improved quality of life.

The commission will also improve legislation to intensify supervision over organ donation and transplantation and increase punishment to violators of the law to promote healthy development of the sector, she said.

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