Sunday, 16 December 2012

Donor database will remove dependence on executed prisoner organs

Computerised organ donor database will improve supply and remove the need to source organs from executed prisoners.
China is set to expand a computerized system to ensure transparent and fair allocation of donor organs, said Vice-Minister of Health Huang Jiefu.
The system is expected to expand nationwide early next year for transplants around the mainland.
Once that happens, donated organs from different procurement organizations will be shared by all transplant centers to improve efficiency and ensure the most medically needy patients benefit, according to Wang Haibo, director of the China Organ Transplant Response System Research Center at the University of Hong Kong.
"The system that is now used only by some will be expanded to all of the transplant centers on the mainland after the coming Spring Festival," said Huang in Guangzhou.
By the middle of November, China had recorded about 480 such organ donations involving 1,294 donor organs under a trial project initiated by the Ministry of Health and the Red Cross Society of China in March 2010.
Of the donations, 47.5 percent came after cardiac death and 43.5 percent after both cardiac and brain death. Those after brain death accounted for the rest, statistics from the allocation system showed.
According to Shi Bingyi, director of the organ transplant institute at No 309 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army in Beijing, the best organ donations come after brain deaths.
Thanks to the project, "China's long-term dependence on executed prisoners as a major source of organ donations for transplants is expected to end within two years", Huang noted.
"We have to create a new deceased organ donation system which is in line with Chinese social and ethical norms, which will also be pragmatic by respecting our nation's reality," he said.
Meanwhile, to ensure the quality of donor organs and transplants, health authorities are considering introducing a set of standards to better manage and evaluate procurement organizations.
At present, China has 164 organ transplant centers recognized by the Ministry of Health and each has a procurement organization comprised of medical professionals from different specialties, Wang said.
According to him, the organization's work includes promoting deceased organ donation, detecting and approaching potential organ donors, coordinating donations, launching computer-assisted organ allocations, donated organ preservation and transportation, and data collection and research.
"The cooperation of organizations made organ sharing among different hospitals possible but its operation should be based on the wide use of the organ allocation system," he noted.
Allocations have been largely hospital based, which can lead to a waste of donated organs and raises public concern about fairness, Wang explained.
Li Peng, a doctor with the procurement center of the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command of the PLA, said that it helped facilitate organ donations and improve the efficiency of donated organ use.
According to Li, the procurement center is affiliated to the hospital rather than the transplant center and is led by the hospital president.
It is comprised of dozens of employees, many of them medics in departments such as neurology and intensive care, he said.
"It also freed organ transplant doctors from organ donation coordination work," he said.
Donated organs harvested by different organizations would all get allocated via the system according to factors like medical urgency, waiting-time, medical compatibility and the distance between donor and recipient, he added.
"Such an independent organization coupled with the allocation system could make the process more transparent to ensure fair allocation," Li noted.
Source: China Daily

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