The Third Joint Meeting of Senior Health Officials of the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao was held in Hong Kong on October 15 and 16. The health authorities of the three sides conducted frank and constructive discussions and shared their latest work experience in public health, prevention of infectious diseases, and monitoring of food hygiene.
The three sides agreed the conduct of this important meeting was timely. In the summer this year, the three sides had successfully contained the outbreak of dengue fever through proactive monitoring and anti-mosquito measures. The meeting affirmed their work in vector surveillance.
Though the threat in summer was over, the three sides considered it would be necessary for all parties to heighten their alertness in infectious diseases, in particular SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and avian influenza having regard to the potential risk of outbreak from winter to spring. The meeting agreed to review the ability of the respective public health system in combatting such infectious diseases.
The three sides in particular had reached consensus on the measures in preventing avian influenza and SARS:
1. To prevent an outbreak in winter, the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao would continue to implement the comprehensive avian influenza monitoring programme to enable effective detection of viruses in the environment.
*Hong Kong would continue the monitoring work at all levels such as poultry farms, imported birds, poultry wholesale and retail markets, etc., so that any abnormality could be identified in a timely manner.
*Macao would continue to enhance disease prevention including stepping up the health management and surveillance of quarantine, wholesale, retail, slaughtering and processing of imported birds. It would further improve epidemiological surveillance on influenza, clinical diagnosis, vaccination for people with higher risks and health education.
*The Mainland would work for the betterment of avian influenza surveillance by strengthening disease notification with Hong Kong and Macao.
The three sides agreed to further improve the notification mechanism on avian influenza so that the health as well as the inspection and quarantine authorities could identify any abnormality as soon as possible and adopt appropriate preventive measures;
2. To prevent an outbreak of SARS in winter, it was agreed that exchange and collaboration should be further enhanced by making use of their respective advantages to step up disease surveillance, information exchange and collaboration on disease prevention to check the spread of the diseases. They agreed to enhance information exchanges through the mechanism of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Expert Group on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases and to speed up the implementation of consensus reached in the meeting of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Expert Group on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases. These included enhancing the analysis of infectious disease data, organising attachment and exchange programmes on infection control and epidemiology training and mutual visits of health care professionals, and undertaking joint research project in scientific research. They would continue to enhance technical exchanges on major infectious diseases to consolidate the collaborative basis through the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Expert Group on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases.
In addition, the three sides reaffirmed the importance of food safety. To ensure food safety, they agreed to enhance work on the monitoring of food hygiene and quality control from the angle of disease prevention. They also agreed to devote sufficient resources on enhancing food surveillance and quality control as well as raising the awareness of the corporations' self discipline and consumers' self-protection to ensure food safety and hygiene.
Finally, the three sides agreed that the Fourth Joint Meeting of Senior Health Officials of the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao would be held on the Mainland in 2005 to further explore the area of collaboration and to review the collaborative experience in the area of health.
The Third Joint Meeting of Senior Health Officials of the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao was concluded today. The Mainland delegation was led by the Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Health, Professor Huang Jiefu; while the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region delegation and Macao Special Administrative Region delegation was headed by the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr York Chow; and the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of Macao, Dr Chui Sai-on, respectively.
Ends/Saturday, October 16, 2004