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Organ donations are 100% voluntary, China sees large increase in donors


02-08-2017 13:59 BJT

For the first time ever, China has attended an organ trafficking meeting in the Vatican City. The invitation for China comes after it banned the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners in 2015. But what China has done to improve the transparency and regulation of organ donation and transplants?

Li Huairui is filling in a form to become an organ donor. He is joining some 160,000 volunteers who have registered in China. Only six years ago, the number is only 1,000.

"Like many people in China, it made me nervous to think of organ donations. But as I learned more about it, I realized it's nothing unusual," Li said.

His application was accepted by the China Organ Donation Administrative Center, a branch of the Red Cross Society of China. Since 2010, it has been working to improve organ donation in China.

"China now only allows organ donation from deceased citizens. Only when the donor has died, can he or she be allowed to donate organs. We also respect the donor’s will, but the final decision must come from the donors’ direct relatives," Hou Fengzhong, vice director with China Organ Donationa Administration Center, said.

In 2016, transplants from more than four thousand donors benefited over ten thousand patients.

The social network WeChat is being used to make registration much easier. It takes only a few minutes and ten thousand people signed up as organ donors in the past year.

With the help of social network, organ donation has gained more public support. However, to make it really work. Locating the potential donor is only the first step.”

Doctor Li Wei is the head of the kidney transplant center in a hospital in Hebei Province. His team performed a dozen transplants last year.

"The most important thing after we locate a potential donor is to get the approval of the donor’s relatives. Not just one, but everyone close to the donor," Doctor Li said.

To help doctors and the donor’s family, a group of people is carrying out a new task, as organ donation coordinators.
"The coordinators will see through the entire process from locating potential donors to the transplant of organs," Hou said.

There are over two thousand coordinators across China. Many already work in the medical system and have volunteered for the work. It is a bridge China is building. A bridge of love and a bridge of life.

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