The number of registered organ donors in China is expected to exceed 3 million by the end of 2024, according to a plan released by the Red Cross Society of China on Tuesday.
The plan, which outlines the development of the society between 2020 and 2024, was approved at a two-day general congress of the society, which closed on Tuesday.
The plan calls for intensified efforts to improve humanitarian relief by the society over the next five years, including carrying out medical relief programs, building world-class marrow banks, promoting blood donations and boosting organ donations to benefit more patients with terminal diseases who need organ transplants.
The total number of registered organ donors in China reached 1.5 million by Aug 25, according to the China Organ Donation Administrative Center, which is affiliated to the society.
According to the plan, released on Tuesday, the society will be expanded so it plays a better role in humanitarian work. It hopes to have 20 million members by the end of 2024, up 3 million from the current membership, and 150,000 grassroots branches by the end of that year, compared with 90,000 branches now.
The number of registered marrow donors in China is expected to reach 3.5 million by the end of 2024, from less than 2.7 million by the end of July, according to the plan.
Chen Zhu, president of the RCSC, said at the closing ceremony of the congress on Tuesday that the society will make more efforts to integrate Red Cross work into internet platforms to improve openness and transparency.
The society is a major nongovernmental organization dedicated to humanitarian relief in China. It assists in emergency rescue efforts during natural disasters, organizes marrow and organ donations, and helps provide medical relief for patients with serious diseases.
Organ donations have been increasing rapidly over the past few years in China. In 2010, the year China began to pilot organ donations, the number of domestic registered organ donors was only 1,087. By March this year, that number exceeded 1 million, according to the China Organ Donation Administrative Center.
Last year, 6,302 people donated organs after death in China, 22 percent more than the previous year. About 20,200 transplant surgeries were completed last year, an increase of 21 percent compared with 2017, ranking second in the world after the United States, according to the National Health Commission.
Various publicity and education activities have been organized by Red Cross societies at various levels in recent years, which along with the application of internet technologies to facilitate organ donor registration have contributed to the rapid rise in the number of registered donors in recent years, according to China Organ Donation Administrative Center.
Despite a rise in the number of organ donations in recent years, organs are still scarce in China. Every year, about 300,000 patients with terminal diseases in China need transplants to survive, but only about 20,000 surgeries can be done, Huang Jiefu, former vice-minister of health, said earlier.