• Surgeons operate on a patient for organ transplant.

Surgeons operate on a patient for organ transplant. (Photo : Getty Images)

The National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee of China says that the country is set to double the number of organ transplant hospitals by 2020.

From the current 169 hospitals that operate about 10,000 surgeries yearly, the committee aims to increase the number to about 300 organ transplant facilities.

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Former Deputy Minister of Health Huang Jiefu stated that the plan of the committee is in line with its vision to become the global frontliner in terms of lifesaving surgical procedures.

"To improve access to the procedure, we're opening more transplant centers, and will have about 300 by 2020," said Huang. He added that this marks the important shift of China from depending on death row prisoners for organ donations.

The statement was made on Sunday during the organ donation awareness event held by the Red Cross Society of China and the National Health and Family Planning Commission in Wuhan, Hubei. Six years ago, the two organizations put forth a public organ donation system in the country to seek more organ donations from public volunteers rather than relying on executed prisoners.

In Feb. 2016, the country has seen the benefit of public organ donations. A total of 16,827 patients were saved from the post-mortem organ donations of 6,238 Chinese citizens, as reported by China Daily.

In relation to the doubling of organ transplant hospitals, Huang said that they are aiming to train more surgeons. Central South University transplant center director Ye Qifa said that China is in short supply of organ transplant surgeons, despite the fact that the current surgeons are highly skilled.

For patients, cost is still a major hindrance to getting organ transplants. The China Organ Transplant Development Foundation is planning to address the issue through its current research on how health insurance can be used to aid for kidney transplants.