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Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

Moves to boost cross-border organ donations as HK donors fall

Moves to boost cross-border organ donations as HK donors fall

Authorities hope to make a cross-border organ donation mechanism a regular arrangement, Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau said, as Hong Kong recorded 52 donors last year, a significant drop from 71 the year before.
The Hong Kong Society of Transplantation yesterday gathered some 300 organ receivers and their families in a thanksgiving event - the first in three years - to pay tribute to their donors and raise awareness for organ donation.

Currently, 2,451 patients are waiting for kidney donations, 81 are awaiting hearts and 66 are waiting on livers. The SAR's Centralised Organ Donation Register saw some 350,000 names register their wish to donate their organs after death.

Last December, four-month-old Hong Kong girl Cleo Lai Tsz-hei, who suffered from heart failure, was rescued with a heart donated by a child who died in an accident on the mainland.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Lo hoped Lai's case could be a breakthrough for Hong Kong to create a regular arrangement for cross-boundary organ donation, alongside a matching mechanism with the mainland.

But he emphasized that the mechanism will only be activated when the two places cannot find a suitable local recipient for a donated organ.

"[The new mechanism] will not be our first tier allocation," Lo said. "We plan to make it the second tier of the system, which is the same as Tsz-hei's case. When there are organs available in the system but we are unable to find a match for a local recipient, we can activate the cross-border mechanism.

"Transplantation is a race against the clock. It takes time to set up the computer matching system and transportation arrangement."

He added that the Hospital Authority is discussing with China Organ Transplant Response System regarding the cross-border organ donation mechanism.

At the event yesterday, a daughter named Sandy said she wanted her late father's helpful spirit to live on, so she agreed to donate his organs after he suddenly passed away at home following a serious stroke last year.

She decided to donate his liver, kidneys, and corneas to give five patients and their families a new chance at life.

Despite making the difficult decision to donate her family member's organs, Sandy called on the public to support organ donations to save more lives.

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