Thursday, 3 April 2014

Chinese leaders affirm commitment to Hangzhou Resolution on ethical organ donation and transplantation

by Michael Woodhead
Chinese health officials and hospital leaders have committed to upholding the new ethical framework for organ donation and transplantation as outlined in the recently signed Hangzhou Resolution.
In a update statement, officials and transplant surgeons affirmed the new five point plan that will outlaw practices such as use of organs from executed prisoners and the 'sale' of organs to foreign buyers.
The new statement also includes a list of 38 Chinese transplant centres that have already confirmed  to have stopped using organs from prisoners, with others "anticipated in the days ahead".
The statement published in Hepatobiliary Pancreatic Diseases International is co-authored by China's leading transplant specialist Professor Huang Jiefu  and international transplant specialists including Dr Francis Delmonico, President of the Transplantation Society.
It notes that the Hangzhou Declaration commits China to adopting  a new organ transplantation system overseen by the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) and the Red Cross. The new system will set up a national voluntary organ donation scheme and a new organ procurement and allocation system that is based on clinical needs and which is "open and transparent". China will set up a human organ transplant clinical network based on 169 authorised transplant centres, an organ registry system and an organ donation regulatory system.
"The NHFPC expressed the resolution of the government of China that the dependence upon organs from executed prisoners must be terminated. The government of China has affirmed its commitment to prohibit transplant tourism and to shut down organ trafficking and transplant commercialism," the statement says.
The move to the new organ donation system will also mean that China is no longer the subject of an academic boycott on organ transplantation.
Health minister Li Bin also pledged her commitment "to bring China back to the international community and to promote an academic exchange based upon the five-point NHFPC plan elaborated."
The next step will be to implement the agreement in all China's provinces. The statement says China will also host a meeting this year with leaders of the major international transplantation societies and WHO representatives.
"The meeting will affirm the new resolution in the practice of organ donation and transplantation in China. The meeting will be a milestone for China transplant professionals to practice according to the international standards set by WHO Guiding Principles."
Meanwhile, in a public show of support for the new organ transplant system, senior Chinese leaders have registered to donate their organs.
Officials including Chen Zhu, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and a former minister of health; and Hua Jianmin, head of the Red Cross Society of China added their names to the new online organ registry at the Beijing Union Medical College Hospital .
The registry, overseen by the society's China Organ Donation Administrative Center, is available for people aged 18 and over who are willing to be organ donors after their death.
In December, the State Council issued a guideline related to funeral reform, encouraging Party members and officials to register to donate their organs after their death, according to China Daily.

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