Conference of KeTLOD held to boost organ donation in China

A press conference about an EU-China project to boost organ donations was held at Guangzhou Zhujiang Hospital of Southern Medical University on September 2. More than 15 experts from EU and China attended the conference.

“The KeTLOD (Knowledge Transfer and Leadership in Organ Donation from Europe to China) project is to design and implement a postgraduate program in organ donation and transplantation, customized to the needs of Chinese health care professionals and adapted to the characteristics of the higher education system in China,” introduced emcee Wenshi Jiang.

Co-founded by the European Commission and Chinese universities, the project has enrolled 140 organ donation professional medical staff members in China since last November. Among them, 20 have been selected to attend a postgraduate program on international organ donation and transplantation in October, 2018, in Bacelona, Spain.

Seven Chinese universities offer postgraduate courses in organ donation and transplants under the KeTLOD project, they are:

  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) – Renji Hospital
  • Hospital Capital Medical University (CCMU)
  • Kunming University (KU)
  • Wuhan University (WHU)
  • Second Military Medical University Shanghai (SMMU)
  • Nanchang University (UN)
  • Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine (GUCM) – Transplant institute of medicine Nanning.

Some attendees pose for a photo.[Photo/lifeofguangzhou.com]

Marti Manyalich, president of Spain’s Donation and Transplantation Institute, said in his speech that training is not just about sharing knowledge, but about transferring the course to China, adapted to local needs. “Seven universities are not enough,” Marti said. “We must train more Chinese professionals in the next decades.”

“Spain has the highest organ donation rate in the world,” said Segundo García Fernández, Vice-consul of Spanish Consulate General in Guangzhou, “One reason behind Spain’s success is pioneering professionalization. Spain has taken the lead in establishing international training and exchanges, training more than 10,000 professionals around the world.”

Li Jingdong, director of the organ donation office of the Guangdong Branch of the Red Cross Society of China, introduced the status of organ donation in the province. “There are 2,711 cases of organ donation in Guangdong, ranking first in the country. Sherif El Gazzar, a Greek man who passed away in August, became the first foreigner in Guangdong province to donate organs. His story touches many residents,” said Li. “I hope that experts from various provinces can further exchange and cooperate to promote organ donation and transplantation in China to help save more lives.”

China joined the KetLOD project in 2013. Wang Lu, an organ donation coordinator at Beijing Youan Hospital, is one of the “seed doctors.” She was impressed by the extensive open discussions, scenario teaching and the Socratic questioning method, which are rare in Chinese training. “The course is a key step for China to adopt a more professional approach to organ donation in line with international practice,” she said in a video played at the venue.

Seven experts representing seven Chinese universities shared their training experiences in the project. Zhao Jie, a professor from Shanghai Jiaotong University, said that they promoted the concept of organ donation and transplant concept among medical students, selected the best students, and sent them to participate in important international conferences to help them select organ donation and transplant as a lifelong career.

Attendees are visiting the Science Museum of Human Anatomy at the Southern Medical University. [Photo/lifeofguangzhou.com]

After the experiences sharing, attendees visited the Science Museum of Human Anatomy at the Southern Medical University, which is one of the science education bases in Guangzhou. The museum is highly praised by the attendees. “These cast specimens displaying here impress me a lot. With the help of the interpreter, I learned the moving stories behind some of them. I saw China’s efforts in this field.” one of the Spanish attendees said.

The country has speeded up the training of professional medical staffs on organ donation and transplantation to overcome a skills shortage for many years. Recent years have seen a rapid growth in the number of donors in China though the ratio is still lower than that in the West. A total of 4,080 people donated their organs in 2016, while in 2010 the number was only 34. Almost 300,000 Chinese have expressed a wish to donate their organs.

“Despite remarkable achievements over the past 10 years, China’s organ donations are still in the primary stage, requiring the whole society to work together.” said Li Jingdong.He hopes media to focus on positive publicity of organ donation.