Experts hail China's progress on organ donation at Int'l conference
Organ transplant experts are hailing China's progress in promoting organ donation and transplantation as an international conference wraps up in the country.
A helicopter is used to transport donated organs to Kunming, Yunnan province in January, 2017. [Photo: clzg.cn]
Tom Mone heads the largest non-profit organ recovery agency in the United States - OneLegacy.
He has followed through online feed of a visit to a Kunming hospital paid by experts attending an international organ transplantation conference in the city.
During the stay, the experts came across an organ transplant case.
It took around 15 minutes for a helicopter to transfer two kidneys to the doctors from a voluntary donor some 150 kilometers away while the surgery was completed within the same day.
Mone hailed China's progress in the field as "some of the world's greatest advances".
"Message is spreading across the Chinese community nationwide both in terms of living donation and in terms of deceased donation. We are seeing some of the world's greatest advances in living donation, providing for tunable liver to (an) infant who needs liver transplant for instance. The largest programs in the world are already in China. And we are also seeing some foundations and beginnings of some very, very effective deceased donation programs working its way to the country."
Though he is far away from Kunming, Mone has spotted the specialty of this year's conference in the southwestern China.
"The fundamental recognition of the need to formalize the donation programs and have something that provides some dedicated resources, people and time and attention to work with families and work with hospitals to make donation happen. The transplant surgeons fully understand that transplant never happens without someone who is willing to give the gift of life. And I'm hearing a great deal of attention to that here at this conference."
Participants at the Kunming conference have been told China will see the world's most organ transplantations by 2020.
The now-concluding conference has also witnessed the merger of the China Organs Donation Foundation and China Organs Donation Management Center to unify and formalize the country's donation program.
Also mentioned during the meeting was a specialized portal of China Organ Transplant Response System that aims to further arouse public awareness about the procedures and benefits of organ donation.
China launched its organ transplant response system in 2013, a computerized system designed for the automatic matching and distribution of donated human organs.
So far, it has distributed 28,000 organs donated by the dead for transplantations.
Nancy Ascher, from American Society of Transplant Surgeons, has observed the development of such systems in China.
"They also have developed registries so we know the outcome of patients with different types of transplants. They have to put the registries together so that with one view, you can see how patients with kidney transplants, liver transplants heart and lung transplants are doing."
And to Mone with OneLegacy, enough professionals in organ transplant is of special significance.
He said China is becoming more dedicated to bringing up more professionals.
"The Chinese deceased donation program has grown tremendously. There has been recognition on the part of the government nationwide, and in different provinces of the importance of investing in having dedicated donation professionals working with the public, educating the public, and educating physicians as well, and being able to be there at the time, the opportunity to donate, to make sure it happens. That was really just a fledgling program just a couple of years ago. Now it's truly working and so it's a real life-saving benefit."