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Praise for Hong Kong effort against communicable diseases


The Monitoring Committee on Implementation of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Expert Committee Report's Recommendations today (October 5) concluded its two-day session with a tour to Kwong Wah Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

In Kwong Wah Hospital, members visited the traditional Chinese medicine general and specialist clinics where they were briefed on the latest application of herbal medicine on local patients who suffered from a wide range of illnesses.

While in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, members were updated on the readiness of hospitals as a whole against infectious diseases and hospital management.

In summing up the work of the committee, its co-chairman, Sir Cyril Chantler, said at a media session that Hong Kong had made good progress in preparing itself against communicable diseases and its effort was commendable.

Sir Cyril said the committee was impressed with the administration's commitment in building up its infrastructure and manpower training to form the first line of defence for public health.

"I am particularly pleased to see that the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) has got off to a very good start and is set to become a public icon for health protection.

"As I have said before, Hong Kong is the gateway to the world, and building up a strong line of defense against communicable diseases here will help the global community guard against possible spread of communicable diseases from the region," he said.

Members had a full day meeting yesterday (October 4) to deliberate mainly on improvements in occupational health services in the Hospital Authority and research strategy on infectious diseases.

Sir Cyril said members had discussed the strategic direction of research and agreed that the policy goal of research was to generate new evidence-based knowledge that would contribute to the overall framework of prevention and control of infectious diseases.

Starting from next year, the CHP, in consultation with its Scientific Committees, will develop thematic priorities for research on infectious diseases and report to the Research Council under the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau.

Members were informed that the Research Council was formed with a task to encourage, facilitate and support research with focus on establishing thematic priorities; fostering collaborative partnerships; enhancing capacity building and pursuing excellence and innovation.

"Scientific research enables us to know more about the diseases with a view to developing the right strategy to tackle them in an anticipatory manner. I am pleased to see $30 million has been ear-marked for the CHP to undertake research in collaboration with other universities," Sir Cyril said.

In wrapping up the committee's work, he said he was pleased and honoured to be the co-chairman with Professor Sian Griffiths of this committee to monitor the excellent work that the health authorities and the Government had done in the past year to restructure and realign their institutional framework in preparing for future outbreaks of infectious diseases.

"Hong Kong is a safe place to visit, thanks to the dedication to strengthen its defence against infectious diseases. Its efforts have also contributed tremendously to the health of the global community."

The two-day meeting is the final part of the second meeting of the committee, 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 first part of the second meeting was held on September 27-28, which was chaired by Professor Griffiths. Other members of the MC are: Professor Lee Shiu-hung, Professor Rosie Young and Dr Lo Wing-lok.

Papers of the committee will be uploaded to its website at later today.

Ends/Tuesday, October 5, 2004


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