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China to share organ transplant expertise

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-26 23:35

Huang Jiefu, chairman of the China National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, talks with Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO in Geneva on Thursday. Liu Jia/China Daily

China aims to share its experience in the field of organ transplants and seek effective solutions to global challenges through deeper international collaboration, a senior Chinese health official said in Geneva on Thursday.

Huang Jiefu, chairman of the China National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee and also a former vice-minister of health, was speaking at a side event, entitled "Towards Universal Access to Solid Organ Transplantation", during the 71st World Health Assembly, which is running from May 21-26.

As the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, the World Health Assembly is attended by delegations from all 194 member states with a prepared specific health agenda.

It is the first time that the WHO has hosted a side event with the theme of organ transplantation during its assembly.

The objective of the event is to share global concerns, identify opportunities for international collaboration and suggest a roadmap toward self-sufficiency in organ transplantation worldwide, according to Beatriz Dominguez-Gil, director-general of National Transplant Organization at the Spanish Ministry of Health.

Huang showcased China's recent developments and progress in the field. He said his country was willing to share the "China experience" and "China model" with other countries.

Huang described the legal framework, relevant policy and work system concerning organ donation and transplantation. China's management of citizens' voluntary donations, the allocation of organs and the country's medical capability in organ transplantation won high praise from participants.

Huang reiterated China's full support for the establishment of a WHO task force on organ donation and transplantation, saying: "China will continue strengthening international cooperation with other countries under the frame of Belt and Road Initiative, and making contributions to global implementation of the WHO's guiding principles."

Francis Delmonico, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School in the United States and the chief medical officer of the New England Organ Bank, said the China model fulfilled the WHO guiding principles of equity, transparency and fairness.

Experts stressed another feature of the China model is the strong resolve and leadership of the Chinese government.

In January 2017, the Chinese government and the World Health Organization worked out a plan for health sector cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.

"We hope to export wisdom and solutions from China, but not to export the Chinese model," Huang said.

"The aim is to solve difficult problems the world is facing in line with conditions of Chinese society and culture."

Lack of access

According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, despite the fact that around 130,000 organ transplants are performed every year globally, the estimated demand is close to 1 million annually.

He said WHO is committed to leading global initiatives to address the significant lack of access for patients in need, especially in low and middle income countries.

"I would like to thank the supporting countries and nongovernmental organizations for giving us this opportunity to discuss an issue of global relevance, which has a tremendous impact on the health of an increasing number of people," said Ghebreyesus.

At the end of the event, he expressed appreciation to Huang for China's active participation by thanking the country in Mandarin.

Liu Jia in Geneva contributed to this story.

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