Support urged for national organ donation
( 2003-08-19 10:13) (China Daily)
Medical experts and organ transplant recipients delivered a heartfelt plea to the public Monday to consider donating organs.
The appeal comes hot on the heels of the World Transplant Games, which was held in Europe last month.
"They are held every other year and it is a good opportunity to carry out public education campaigns about organ donation," said Professor Chen Zhonghua, vice-president of the Chinese Society of Organ Transplantation, during "Rainbow Programme." The programme provides special care for organ transplant recipients.
"We are planning to organize a similar event on a national level to help improve the public's awareness."
As one of the Rainbow Stars, Feng Bin from East China's Shangdong Province said his experience at the 14th World Transplant Games in France was both a challenge and a basis for encouragement.
"After communicating with organ transplant recipients from over 60 countries and regions, I gained the confidence to live and to try to raise the public's awareness about organ donation," said Feng.
With his ruby face and strong body, no one would image that the 36-year-old had a liver transplant in 2001.
Besides Feng, the first six Chinese representatives who participated in the international event brought home three silver medals and one bronze.
Transplants are the most effective means of trying to save the lives of people who have experienced organ failure.
Although China has reached an international level in terms of transplanting organs, there is still a long way to go both with meeting medical challenges and increasing public awareness. There are also still some legal concerns.
Due to a shortage of healthy organs, the high medical costs and some other reasons, many Chinese patients fail to receive organs when in need. Public education about organ donation is insufficient, experts say.
They say about 500,000 people need spleen transplants in China. In the United States, about 50 per cent of spleen recipients get a healthy organ from their relatives. However, the donation rate among relatives is less than 1 per cent in China.
Chen said China's Organ Transplantation Regulation would soon be mapped out by the Ministry of Health.
So far the programme has touched the lives of about 3,700 people in 20 hospitals in China.
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