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China launches organ donation system

The Red Cross Society of China and the Ministry of Health Tuesday announced the launch of an organ donation system in 10 provinces and cities in a pilot initiative to speed up organ transplants.

The pilot regions are the cities of Tianjin, Shanghai, Xiamen, Nanjing and Wuhan and the provinces of Liaoning, Zhejiang, Shandong, Guangdong and Jiangxi.

They will start promoting organ donations, while setting up a registry system for donors and a distribution system for recipients, the two agencies said at a meeting in Shanghai.

"China should build as soon as possible a donation system in line with the national conditions and international ethics," said Deputy Health Minister Huang Jiefu.

Huang said China needed to ensure transplant quality, eliminate organ trading and "transplant tourism," and register more donors and protect their rights.

Up to last year, a total of 86,800 kidney transplants, 14,643 liver transplants, 882 heart and lung transplants and more than 220 transplants of other organs had been carried out in China.

Official estimates indicate that 1.5 million Chinese need organ transplants each year, but only 10,000 operations are performed because of a severe shortage of donors.

Nationwide, 164 medical institutions on the Chinese mainland are licensed to carry out organ transplants.

The government has launched a review after reports surfaced that some hospitals were illegally doing organ surgeries for foreigners, according to a report by China Daily earlier this month.

Medical institutions would have their licenses revoked if failed to qualify, China Daily quoted an unnamed spokesperson of the Ministry of Health as saying.

Organ transplants in China are covered by the 2007 regulations that ban organ trading and trafficking and "transplant tourism" for foreigners.

Source: China View

Editor: Xie Fang

TIANJIN City of Glamour