Govt seeks fair­ness in or­gan donor sys­tem for in­mates

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By SHAN JUAN shan­juan@chi­

China is set to fur­ther strengthen the reg­u­la­tion of or­gan do­na­tions from ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers and in­te­grate it into the ex­ist­ing pub­lic vol­un­tary or­gan do­na­tion and al­lo­ca­tion sys­tem, ac­cord­ing to a po­lit­i­cal ad­viser close to the sit­u­a­tion.

Huang Jiefu, di­rec­tor of the China Or­gan Do­na­tion Com­mit­tee and for­mer vice-min­is­ter of health, made the re­marks on Tues­day on the side­lines of the on­go­ing two ses­sions.

“By do­ing that, or­gans from death-row in­mates used for life­sav­ing op­er­a­tions are se­cured in a fair, trans­par­ent, and cor­rup­tion­free man­ner,” he said.

Pre­vi­ously, or­gan do­na­tions from ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers were han­dled in­ap­pro­pri­ately by “some doc­tors and law en­force­ment of­fi­cers”, which might lead to mal­prac­tice and cor­rup­tion, he said.

To end that, “we will reg­u­late the is­sue by in­clud­ing vol­un­tary or­gan do­na­tions by ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers in the na­tion’s pub­lic or­gan do­na­tion sys­tem to help en­sure an open and fair prac­tice”, he said.

China launched the sys­tem in 2010 to make it eas­ier for the pub­lic to do­nate or­gans and en­sure the or­gans are given based on need rather than the “high­est bid­ders”.

As of Sun­day, 1,570 or­gan do­na­tions had been fa­cil­i­tated via the sys­tem, ac­cord­ing to Huang.

Do­na­tions from ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers were ini­tially not cov­ered by the sys­tem. Zhu Jiye, di­rec­tor of the liver and gall­blad­der sur­gi­cal depart­ment of Pek­ing Univer­sity People’s Hospi­tal, called for changes to the sys­tem, to en­sure that death-row in­mates are not co­erced into donat­ing or­gans.

“We re­spect their right to do­nate, but it must be vol­un­tary and their do­nated or­gans should be used fairly,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Zhu, trans­plant surgery us­ing or­gan do­na­tions from death-row in­mates has de­clined in re­cent years, and there were only two such op­er­a­tions at his hospi­tal last year.

Huang added: “China is grad­u­ally mov­ing away from a longterm re­liance on ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers as a ma­jor source for or­gan do­na­tions.”

In Novem­ber, 38 out of the 165 trans­plant cen­ters in China signed a dec­la­ra­tion vow­ing to stop us­ing do­nated or­gans from ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers, ac­cord­ing to Huang.

He ex­pects that pro­ce­dures that in­clude the pro­cure­ment and al­lo­ca­tion of or­gans from in­mates who have been ex­e­cuted will be in­te­grated into the na­tional sys­tem soon.

“We’ve reached con­sen­sus with the le­gal and law en­force­ment de­part­ments on that,” he said.

To en­sure that do­na­tions are vol­un­tary, writ­ten con­sent from the in­mate and the fam­ily is re­quired, he said.

An­other source who didn’t want to be named but is close to the sit­u­a­tion said writ­ten con­sent from the ex­e­cuted pris­oner’s lawyer will be added as well.

Also, only des­ig­nated or­gan pro­cure­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions will be al­lowed to ap­proach law en­force­ment de­part­ments re­gard­ing the is­sue, Huang said.

Most im­por­tantly, “do­nated or­gans from ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers will be put into a com­put­er­ized sys­tem to en­sure fair al­lo­ca­tion”, he said.

“Any or­gan do­na­tions, in­clud­ing those by ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers, have to go through the sys­tem and the com­put­er­ized al­lo­ca­tion process,” he added.

Sta­tis­tics from the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion show that about 300,000 Chi­nese people need or­gan trans­plants ev­ery year.

How­ever, only around 10,000 even­tu­ally re­ceive one.

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