Following is the speech (English only) by the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr York Chow, at the Inauguration Symposium of the Centre for Health Protection today (October 27):
Good Morning, Dr Omi, Dr Wang, distinguished speakers and guests,
I am honoured to be here to kick off this internationale maiden symposium hosted by the Centre for Health Protection. I must first thank all the overseas guests for sparing their time to join this event. We have a good congregation of healthcare experts coming from all parts of the world including our immediate neighbours like Guangdong, Macau, Singapore, Japan and the Republic of Korea. We also appreciate the presence of guests from further afield - the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Experience sharing and cross-fertilisation of knowledge are the time-honoured recipes for progress in the history of mankind. This is no less true in the context of building health protection systems. Today's symposium is organised with this belief in mind.
Communicable diseases respect no national boundaries. As one of the most popular and freely visited cities in the world, Hong Kong takes its international obligations seriously. We understand our healthcare infrastructure has an indispensable role to play in building a line of defence for the rest of the world.
While the CHP will initially focus its resources on communicable diseases, we are aware that non-communicable diseases also warrant equal attention. In essence, the CHP will be playing the prominent role in controlling the major health risks factors that can endanger our community. In order to fulfill its mission, we need to work closely with the healthcare professionals in our community. I am very happy to see there are overwhelming support from both the private and public sectors here today. We have to rely on your cooperation, collaboration and partnership in the years to come.
With Dr P Y Leung and his team, the CHP aspires to become a centre of excellence in disease prevention and control, with robust connections to overseas partners spread over the continents. CHP colleagues are not only equipped with professional knowledge but will also espouse a culture of proactiveness and a high sense of alertness and responsiveness.
In our never-ending war with health hazards, it is important for all health protection agencies to work as partners. We have set aside ample time for you to network with CHP colleagues and other participants. Please feel free to build or renew links with your overseas counterparts during coffee breaks and meal breaks. I am sure there will be much to be learned and shared. Your active participation will help make the symposium a great success. I have discussed with Dr (PY) Lam earlier on, we hope this will be a regular symposium, perhaps every year, may be more frequent, in order to share information on all health care services in the region.
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope we will all come away from this symposium with added knowledge, expanded network, and an enhanced capacity for fighting communicable diseases. I wish you a fruitful and rewarding exchange today. Thank you.
Ends/Wednesday, October 27, 2004