Report on the launching ceremony of the Rotary Organ Donation Website and first ever Online Organ Donor Registry for the Mainland on 19 March 2014

 

It was a highly memorable day for the Rotary Delegation led by DG Eugene visiting Guangzhou to officiate the launching ceremony of an Organ Donation Website and the first ever Online Organ Donor Registry for the Mainland of China on 19 March 2014.  More than 40 Rotarians from Hong Kong and Macau were in the picture together with 200 students from the Sun Yat Sen University (or better known as the Zhongshan University) in Guangzhou, all wearing the Rotary T-shirt specially designed for promoting organ donation in China.

How it all began?

Let us look back 15 months ago.  On 26 December 2012, the Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan Office of the Chinese Ministry of Health invited Rotary International District 3450 to sign a letter of intent with the objective of helping China to promote organ donation among the Chinese people.  This is to ensure that with the banning of the use of organs from executed prisoners and the enactment of new legislation requiring organs donated to be allocated through a scientific, transparent, fair and open system of organ allocation in China, there will be continuous supply of organs donated by the public to replace those from previous sources.  The new allocation system, named the China Organ Transplant Response System (COTRS) was developed by the COTRS Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong under the directorship of Professor Wang Haibo, who is now also a Rotarian.  In accordance with the letter of intent, our District will oversee the cooperation between the COTRS Research Centre and the First Affiliated Hospital of the Zhongshan University to identify a recommendable model of promotion which is applicable to the Guangdong province.  Where possible, this model of promotion will also be extended to other cities and provinces in China.

Fifteen months have flown by, and the launching of the Organ Donation Website and the Organ Donor Registry represents a major deliverable of our efforts in honoring our commitment stated in the letter of intent signed with the Ministry (recently re-organized as the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC)).  The website provides all the information about why organ donation is important, how organs donated can be traced and allocated through the new allocation system and then used to save the lives of those in need of organ transplantation.  And most importantly, through the website, people could register online as organ donors directly and be awarded certificate of appreciation for their registration.  It also has the provision enabling people to withdraw their registration should they wish to, thus assuring people that they could freely exercise their personal choice and decision which are always fully respected.

 

DG Eugene addressed the audience at the launching ceremony on 19 March 2014, as one of the Officiating Guests.  The launching ceremony was held in the Grand Hall of the Zhujiang Hotel at Guangzhou, where more than 600 people attended, including international experts on organ transplantation from various organizations and countries, Chiefs of major hospitals in China, teachers and students from the Zhongshan University and Rotary Delegates.  DG Eugene highlighted to the audience that Rotary has been engaged in numerous humanitarian service projects in China, including the famous Hepatitis B project in which over a million children in China received vaccine immunization catalyzing ultimately the setting up of the national scheme providing vaccination for all children.  The trust and confidence established between the Health Ministry in China and Rotary International District 3450 has helped engender the present project on Organ Donation Promotion, which our District will, with our motto of Service above Self, make every effort to complete jointly with our partners in the Mainland.

Other VIPs addressing the audience at the launching ceremony include Mr. Zhou Jun, Deputy Director of the NHFPC, Professor Jose Nunez, representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Professor Francis Delmonico, President of The Transplant Society.  They all spoke on the importance of the new laws and organ allocation system promulgated in China, and commended on the work of Rotary in promoting organ donation.

Deputy Director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, Zhou Jun addressing the audience at the launching ceremony

Professor Jose R Nunez, Representative from the World Health Organization (WHO) addressing the audience at the launching ceremony

Professor Francis Delmonico, President of The Transplant Society (TTS) addressing the audience at the launching ceremony

 

Mr. Eric Tsang Chi Wai was appointed as Ambassador of Organ Donation of China by the NHFPC on 19 March 2014.  He spoke on the occasion telling people how worthy a cause he considered organ donation would be and why everyone should join him and register online as an organ donor on the new organ donor registry of China.  A demonstration was conducted at the launching ceremony in which Mr. Tsang was registered online as an organ donor on the spot.

 

A number of people were awarded with certificates of appreciation by the NHFPC because of their work in helping the launching of the website possible.  Among these are our Rotarians, Rtn. Karr Yip of the RC of Metropolitan HK who helped in designing the website and Rtn. Dr. Raymond Cheung of the RC of Central who led his team of staff and students in the City University of Hong Kong in developing the software required of the website.

One of the highlights of the launching ceremony was the light-up of a large logo highlighting the love and hope engendered through the organ donation website at www.safelife.org.cn.

 

The Rotary Delegation had the honour of taking a picture with all the officiating guests at the closing of the launching ceremony.

All Rotarians are invited to visit the Organ Donation website in China, which Rotary International District 3450 has helped to construct, at www.safelife.org.cn.  More importantly, please note that when you visit the website, you can register as an organ donor on the Organ Donor Registry accessible online through the website.  Apart from residents in the Mainland, residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan can also register as organ donors on the Donor Registry in the Mainland.  While transfer of organs across border is not allowed, Hong Kong residents can be assured that organs will be properly allocated within both the territory of Hong Kong and that of the Mainland if they are registered as donors in both places.

Please also see more about organ donation development in China and the work of Rotary International District 3450 on the subject by seeing the following videos from you-tube links at:

http://youtu.be/qbbJNOqffBc , which presents the launching ceremony held on 19 March 2014,

http://youtu.be/IapLNtczza8, which presents important messages from experts and leaders in both China and the international community about organ donation development in China; and

http://youtu.be/C162pzJWr3g, which presents the visits arranged for Mr. Eric Tsang Chi-Wai to the COTRS Research Centre in Shenzhen and the Zhongshan First Hospital for a better understanding of the new organ allocation system and meeting the doctors and patients in the hospital.