The number of organ donations and transplants in China hit a record high after the use of executed prisoners' organs was banned, making voluntary donation from citizens the only legitimate channel, the media reported Tuesday.
More than 6,000 organs were donated by over 2,000 donors as of early October, marking a record high after January's ban prompted concerns about an acute shortage of organs, said Huang Jiefu, a former vice-minister of health and current head of the National Human Organ Donation and Transplant Committee.
He said that over 300 hospitals will become qualified to perform organ transplants next year and that over 500 young doctors will be trained in donation and transplant procedures, the Global Times reported.
In 2014, voluntary donations from Chinese citizens became the largest source of organs for transplant, accounting for 80 percent of all donated organs.
According to a poll conducted by the National Human Organ Donation and Transplant Committee in the Wuhan and Guangzhou cities in 2012, 40 percent of survey respondents said they were "uncertain" whether they were willing to donate, largely because of uncertainties about "whether their organs will be treated fairly and transparently".
Traditional beliefs that favour preserving bodies intact after death may also make would-be donors hesitate, said Zhu Jiye, director of the Organ Transplantation Centre of Peking University. Zhu advised the people that they should instead try to think of organ donation as a kind of continuation of their lives.
China started a voluntary organ donation trial programme in 2010 and began promoting the practice across the country in 2013. According to a report released by the committee in 2013, China has witnessed the second largest number of organ donations in the world.