Lawmaker suggests including organ donation rate into civilized city evaluation
Published: Mar 04, 2021 12:11 AM
Medical staff bow to the organ donor Li Hongyan before the organ procurement surgery in Shannan, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, Aug. 22, 2018. File photo:Xinhua

File photo:Xinhua

To tackle China's low rate of organ donation, a lawmaker suggested including organ donation into the criteria for a civilized city, and that a city's organ donation rate must surpass last year's national average donation rate to meet the standard. 

The proposal was made by Chen Jingyu, a cardiothoracic surgery expert and vice president of Wuxi People's Hospital in east China's Jiangsu Province, and also a deputy at the 13th National People's Congress (NPC). 

He told the Global Times that China's organ donation rate is already the highest among Asian countries with five out of one million people willing to donate their organs after death, ranking just after the US. 

But the rate is still low considering the huge demand for organs in China, Chen said. Out of 300,000 people who are in need of organs, only 10,000 will be lucky enough to get them, he noted. 

Chen said that although the National Health Commission has already included the organ donation rate into evaluation criteria for top Chinese hospitals, it is far from enough. Elevating the donation rate will need the whole of society to push for it, said Chen. 

Chen suggested the benchmark for a civilized city should be for it to surpass last year's national average rate of organ donation (in 2019 it was 5.6 people in one million).

Chen made the proposal ahead of the 13th NPC, which will be convened on Friday. 

A total of 24,112 organs were donated by Chinese citizens after their deaths from January 2015 to December 2019, according to a report from the China Organ Transplantation Development Foundation issued in December last year. 

Organ transplantation has also played its role in treating COVID-19 patients. 

At least six COVID-19 patients have undergone lung transplants in China as a final option to save them when reaching critical condition, with medical costs totaling more than 7 million yuan ($1.1 million), which were covered by the government. 

Huang Jiefu, head of the China National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee and chairman of the China Organ Transplantation Development Foundation, told the Global Times previously that organ donation has been widely recognized and supported by the public. And patients suffering from organ failure cannot wait, so operations have not been suspended in China even amid the epidemic.