Reg­u­la­tions im­prove or­gan donor sys­tem

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SUNDAY NEWS - By SHAN JUAN shan­juan@chi­

Stricter reg­u­la­tions on or­gan trans­plant man­age­ment will take ef­fect on Sept 1, ush­er­ing in a new era of med­i­cal his­tory in China, ac­cord­ing to Huang Jiefu, di­rec­tor of the China Or­gan Do­na­tion Com­mit­tee at the China Or­gan Pro­cure­ment and Al­lo­ca­tion Con­fer­ence in Bei­jing.

The new reg­u­la­tions will bet­ter con­trol man­age­ment of or­gan do­na­tion, cov­er­ing the en­tire process in­clud­ing the so­lic­i­ta­tion of the or­gans, the op­er­a­tions and hos­pi­tals car­ry­ing out op­er­a­tions.

The new reg­u­la­tions will also shorten the wait­ing time for pa­tients need­ing trans­plants.

“It is now nec­es­sary for China to turn from de­pend­ing on or­gans from ex­e­cuted crim­i­nals, to pub­lic do­na­tions in or­der to sus­tain the in­creas­ing de­mand. Hos­pi­tals which do not take im­me­di­ate ac­tion, or man­age the pro­gram well will risk hav­ing their trans­plant li­censes re­voked,” said Huang, a for­mer vice-min­is­ter of health.

Qual­i­fied and au­tho­rized hos­pi­tals will be re­quired to form an Or­gan Pro­cure­ment Or­ga­ni­za­tion (OPO) to over­see the pro­ce­dure.

Cur­rently, or­gans do­nated af­ter death and or­gans do­nated by the liv­ing, ac­count for nearly half of all trans­plants, with do­na­tions af­ter death grow­ing by nearly 100 cases a month, ac­cord­ing to statis­tics from the National Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to the new reg­u­la­tions, if do­na­tions are to be so­licited upon death, an OPO must be op­er­at­ing in the hos­pi­tal.

The OPO will be com­prised of sur­geons who carry out the trans­plants, nurses in in­ten­sive care units (ICU), and neu­rol­o­gists.

Cur­rently, less than half of the 165 ac­cred­ited hos­pi­tals au­tho­rized to carry out trans­plants have an OPO, said Shao Wenyu, a lead­ing liver trans­plant sur­geon at Jiangsu Prov­ince Hos­pi­tal at Nan­jing.

“Great ex­per­tise is re­quired, par­tic­u­larly in or­gan main­te­nance,” he said. “Sur­geons need more ex­pe­ri­ence in as­pects like post- surgery care to bet­ter han­dle trans­plants us­ing or­gans do­nated af­ter death.”

He said it would take an­other two to three years for hos­pi­tals to be fully pre­pared and ready.

“The reg­u­la­tions will be a mile­stone for or­gan trans­plants in China,” he added, say­ing that it will im­prove the process of how donor or­gans are pro­cured.

A team of co­or­di­na­tors will be formed un­der the OPO um­brella to help iden­tify and fa­cil­i­tate do­na­tions. Only qual­i­fied med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers can be­come co­or­di­na­tors.

Cur­rently, the Red Cross So­ci­ety of China and its lo­cal branches are fa­cil­i­tat­ing such do­na­tions, said Zhang Wei, deputy di­rec­tor of the med­i­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion depart­ment of Guang­dong provin­cial health depart­ment.

Once the new reg­u­la­tions are in place, Red Cross vol­un­teers who fail to meet re­quired qual­i­fi­ca­tions can only play an aux­il­iary role in aid­ing the co­or­di­na­tors, he said.

In 2010, China’s health min­istry and the Red Cross jointly launched a sys­tem for do­na­tion of or­gans af­ter death in se­lected re­gions on a trial ba­sis.

Un­der the trial, the Red Cross was re­spon­si­ble for pro­mot­ing or­gan do­na­tions, see­ing through the do­na­tion process to en­sure fair prac­tice, and com­mem­o­rat­ing donors.

In the past, hos­pi­tals in cities like Bei­jing were late to em­brace th­ese sorts of pro­grams largely be­cause of the dif­fer­ent lev­els of en­thu­si­asm in car­ry­ing out the ini­tia­tives by the Red Cross, ac­cord­ing to Zhu Jiye, chief sur­geon at Peking Univer­sity Peo­ple’s Hos­pi­tal.

The new reg­u­la­tions are ex­pected to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion.

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