Exact Numbers Are Unknown But A Daily Telegraph Special Feature: Public Health Policy Essay, SU, Australia

University Sydney University
Subject Public Health Policy

Exact numbers are unknown, but a Daily Telegraph special feature reports at least some Australians travel each year to China for organ transplants. Many go for kidneys, some of which may come from living donors.

For those who travel to China for whole livers, lungs, or hearts, there can be little doubt that, after organ retrieval, the donor is dead. When such operations are booked in advance, the death is timed to be convenient for the recipient and/or transplant team.

After initial denials, the Chinese government admits it has used the organs from executed prisoners, but now claims (since January 2015) only organs from voluntary citizen donors are used. But in the new system, prisoners’ organs can be counted as voluntary citizen donations, making it business as usual in China.

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Should we stop Australians traveling to China for organ transplants through the introduction of one or more laws?

  • Why does the problem occur? What conditions lead to it?
  • Can the issue be clearly defined from an agreed perspective of all parties? Whose concerns are relevant?
  • What ideas and values (equity, liberty, efficiency, security, loyalty) or viewpoints (vision of how the world is or how it should be) might exist? What conflicts of needs, values, or ideologies might there be among stakeholders?
  • How does politics influence this problem? How do competing political priorities and ideologies influence this problem?
  • Is there a demonstrable need for public policy, i.e. law, based on the evidence and consultation with all stakeholders, particularly those to be affected?
  • Is there a minimum scope/scale that the problem has to be tackled with to do any good?
  • Are there viable alternative options to a public policy option?
  • To what extent will prohibiting this activity negatively affect individuals, e.g. impinge on private property, personal welfare, safety, or health; reduce income?
  • To what extent does prohibiting this activity affect community norms, values, and culture (e.g. sense of wellbeing; a sense of community; cultural appropriacy)?
  • Will it distribute the benefits and negative effects fairly, eg. across groups and individuals?
  • Does it enhance or detract from the accountability and transparency of government actions?
  • In general, would a public policy likely have more or less opposition in the community? If there is likely to be opposition, what would it take to reduce this?
  • Would those affected by a public policy consider it fair?
  • To what extent might a public policy affect the economy and/or health and social services or programs?
  • To what extent will it address key elements of the issue? If not much, why?
  • Could policy create any adverse issues? Are any negative effects of the policy proportional to the problem being addressed?
  • Will it require new money? If yes, what might be the sources of funds? What are the financial costs of not taking action under this policy?
  • What changes to existing relationships, structures, practices, or processes might be required to implement this policy — none, minimal, complex?
  • To what extent can the effects of public policy be evaluated? How difficult and costly will it be to evaluate the effects?

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