About 15,000 to 16,000 patients will receive organ transplants in China this year or the equivalent of about half of the 31,000 people on the waiting list for donations, the country’s Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee said.
Huang Jiefu, the committee’s director, sought to raise awareness of the need for organ donations in the country. Huang is also the president of the China Organ Transplant Development Foundation (COTDF).
The official disclosed the number following the opening ceremony of the sixth Transplant Games of China at Peking University in Beijing on Sunday. June 11 was China's first Organ Donation Day.
A kidney tranplant is performed in a hospital in Hefei, Anhui Province in east China on September 29, 2016. /VCG Photo
Initiated in 2004, the Transplant Games of China is an event for transplant recipients across the country. The Games and the Organ Donation Day are aimed at raising awareness of organ donations and encouraging more people to volunteer as donors.
There are currently 173 hospitals qualified for organ transplantation nationwide, Huang said, noting that China used to have more than 600 hospitals performing transplant operations. The number had been cut to 169 before a recent increase. As the industry grows, that number is likely to rise to 180-190 by the end of 2017 and reach 300 in the future, he added.
A mother donates part of her liver to her son in a hospital in Zhengzhou, Henan Province in central China on April 12, 2017. /VCG Photo
China bans transplants of organs from executed prisoners in 2015
Since China launched its organ donation system in 2010, a total of 276,082 people had been registered as organ donors, 11,977 donations had been made and 32,984 organs had been donated by the end of May, data from China Organ Donation Administrative Center show.
About 13,000 organ transplants were performed in 2016, while China's per million population (PMP) in donation reached 2.98, up from 0.03 in 2010, according to COTDF data.
In recent years, China has strengthened law enforcement on organ trafficking to protect both donors and recipients. From 2007 to 2016, authorities including the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the Ministry of Public Security formed joint task forces to fight organ trafficking, arresting 174 criminal suspects.
The country banned transplants of organs donated from executed prisoners in January 2015, since when voluntary citizen-based organ donations have been the only source of organs.
According to a recent survey conducted by the COTDF and Ant Financial Services Group, 83 percent of Chinese respondents said they were willing to donate organs.