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Pleasing progress in fight against communicable diseases


The Monitoring Committee (MC) on Implementation of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Expert Committee Report's Recommendations is pleased with the progress made by Hong Kong to fight against communicable diseases over the past year.

The MC met during its first two-day session (September 27-28) to stock-take measures adopted by the administration over the past year to combat SARS and other emerging communicable diseases.

The meeting also reviewed the progress on the development of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP), a key recommendation of the SARS Expert Committee, a spokesman for the MC said today (September 28).

Other topics discussed in the two-day session included the proposal to set up a working group under the Department of Health to strengthen public health education and training on the prevention and control of communicable diseases, the spokesman added.

The committee also exchanged views on the review of the organisation structure of the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau.

The MC concluded the session today following their visits to the CHP and the Oasis of the Hospital Authority - Centre for Personal Growth & Crisis Intervention.

Speaking to the media after the visit to the CHP, the Co-chairman of the MC, Professor Sian Griffiths, said the committee was very impressed with Hong Kong's efforts and progress in the prevention and control of communicable diseases over the past year.

"It was particularly exhilarating that the CHP has become a reality in less than a year. We have recommended in the Expert Committee Report that CHP will also be responsible for maintaining close working relationships with the main international agencies.

"In this respect, I am pleased to see that the Controller of the CHP was invited to speak at the opening ceremony of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in Stockholm yesterday (September 27, Sweden time).

"I am convinced that Hong Kong is now better equipped and prepared to combat emerging infectious diseases. SARS was a wake-up call, reminding us of the importance of infectious diseases and the key role of public health. We all need to stay vigilant and the CHP is making good progress in its work.

"I was particularly interested in their links with the media and the public, and impressed by the joint work between the Hospital Authority and Department of Health. I hope the good work that has been started will continue to be supported," Prof Griffiths said.

The two-day session is the first part of the second meeting of the MC, which was appointed by the Chief Executive last October to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the SARS Expert Committee Report. The first meeting was held in January.

The second part of the MC meeting is scheduled for October 4-5. It will be chaired by the other co-chairman, Sir Cyril Chantler, and will focus on discussion of occupational safety and research strategy for infectious diseases.

Other members of the MC are: Professor Rosie Young, Professor Lee Shiu-hung and Dr Lo Wing-lok.

Papers of the MC will be uploaded to the website of the Monitoring Committee at after the second part of the meeting on October 4-5.

Ends/Tuesday, September 28, 2004


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