Organ Donation in the World

May 21, 2018
Editor: Xie Wen

Yingying, a girl from a peasant family in Lingbi County, East China's Anhui Province, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of three and half. Despite years of treatment, her condition has not improved. Her grandfather finally decided to donate her organs and cornea after her illness had worsened.

Yingying's organ donation surgery was completed soon after her death, which saved a 42-year-old female patient with acute liver failure, two patients with ESRD, and two patients with eye diseases.

In March 2010, China launched a pilot program for organ donation to advocate for voluntary donation of useful organs after one passes away. In the past eight years, China has accumulatively completed more than 16,000 donations, through which more than 40,000 organs were donated, extending more than 40,000 lives.

Here are the related situations in other countries around the world.

Australia: donate with a reward of 18,000 yuan

According to Hu Fang, an observer of the Global Chinese Broadcasting Network in Australia, overall, the number and proportion of organ donations in Australia are still low. Although many people are willing to donate organs, they eventually often cancel due to various reasons.

Hu said that almost every adult in Australia has a driver's license. In the process of applying for it, you will be confronted with a Yes or No question when you fill the application form: If you encounter an accident, are you willing to donate your organs? Many people will choose Yes sincerely, but many potential donors are often refused at the last moment due to family opposition. Therefore, many medical institutions in Australia focus on persuading the organ donors' family members.

In addition, starting in 2013, Australia is implementing a two-year paid annual leave program for organ donors. According to this plan, any living organ donor will be provided with paid vacation of two weeks by the federal government, worth about 18,000 yuan.

Spain: the highest organ donation rate

In order to alleviate social problems caused by low organ donation rates, the Spanish government enacted the organ donation and organ transplant bill in 1979. In 1989, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs established the National Organ Transplantation Center, which is responsible for coordinating the acquisition of organs throughout the country. Transplanting without the National Organ Transplantation Center's approval is considered illegal.

According to the act, all citizens are considered organ donors. In addition, in terms of financial support, organ transplantation has been included into a comprehensive medical security system by the government, which also invested heavily in  relevant education programs and trained tens of thousands of medical professionals.

UK: the lowest organ donation rate

Britain was one of the countries that implemented organ transplants and donations earlier. According to its laws, organs could be obtained if donors expressed their willingness to donate while they were alive, and the approval of their relatives.

Japan: growing organ donation rate

According to Huang Xueqing, an observer of the Global Chinese Broadcasting Network of Japan, after the revision of the "Organ Transplantation Act" in Japan in 2010, organs could be donated with the donor and family members' approval.

Huang said that in Japan, as in most countries, the number of organ recipients exceeds the number of donors, This forces patients to go abroad for medical treatment, which involves unaffordable costs where treatment is not covered by medical insurance. Japanese society has been debating over the issue of organ transplants for many years. Now the number of registered people is increasing annually.

In both China and other countries, increasing the rate of organ donation lies not only in changing ideas and attitudes, but also in the openness and transparency of the donation system. People have the right and need to know whether the organ of their loved ones has been successfully transplanted and what the outcome is, which requires the joint efforts of all sectors of society.

(Source: Translated and edited by Women of China)

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