International Organ Transplant specialists have applauded China’s significant achievements in reforming and standardising its organ donation and transplantation system.
They made the remarks at the 4th China International Organ Donation Conference, which was held from Friday to Sunday in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
The conference brought together more than 1,000 specialists from home and abroad to discuss the development of organ donation and transplantation in China and how to deepen international cooperation in the area.
The Kunming Consensus on International Cooperation and Development in Organ Donation and Transplant under the Framework of the Belt & Road Initiative was released during the conference to advance international cooperation in organ donation and transplantation and to boost people-to-people exchanges among B&R countries.
“I have been following what China is doing in organ donation and transplantation,” Jose Nunez, a World Health Organisation (WHO) officer who oversees global organ transplantation, said during the conference. “Every time I came to China, I could see a great progress.”
The development of China’s organ donation and transplantation is on the right path and in line with the guiding principles of the WHO, he added.
In 2007, China issued a regulation on organ transplantation, stipulating fairness and openness in the allocation of donated organs.
In 2011, Organ trading was criminalised across China. In 2015, the country banned the use of organs from executed prisoners, making voluntary donation the sole legitimate source for organ transplants.
“The Chinese government attaches great importance to organ donation and transplantation. It has released over 30 documents and regulations to better regulate the area,” said Huang Jiefu, Director of the China National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, adding that China has established an organ donation and transplantation system that is scientific, fair and ethical.
Francis Delmonico, head of the WHO Task Force on Donation and Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues, said strong government support is the main feature of China’s experience in organ transplantation, which is “an example that many countries should follow.”
With a more standardised system and Chinese people’s growing acceptance of organ donation, the country has witnessed a surge in organ donation over the past few years.
According to a report released by the China Organ Transplantation Development Foundation on Saturday, China recorded 6,302 cases of voluntary organ donations in 2018, more than double the number in 2015. It now ranks second globally in the number of organ donations and transplants.
Nearly 1.7 million Chinese have registered as voluntary organ donors, according to official data.
All those organ donation cases are traceable in the China Organ Transplant Response System (COTRS), a unified computerised system for organ procurement and allocation within China, Wang Haibo, who is in charge of the system, said at the conference.
Wang said the COTRS can automatically match donated organs with potential recipients and distribute organs based on defined principles such as urgency, thus ensuring the fairness and transparency of organ allocation.
“China’s organ donation and transplantation system is transparent and open to the scrutiny of international organisations,” Jose Nunez said, adding that China’s experience in the field can be a model for other countries.
Campbell Fraser, an expert from Australia’s Griffith University, spoke highly of China’s progress in regulating its organ donation and transplantation system, hailing China’s “leadership role in combating transplant tourism and organ trafficking around the world.”
He also expressed hope that more foreign specialists in organ transplantation would visit China and interact with their Chinese counterparts to enhance cooperation and save more lives.