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The Hong Kong Tuberculosis, Chest and

Heart Diseases Association

Annual General Meeting

24 August 2017

Chairman LAN, Members of the Board of Directors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honour and pleasure to preside at the Annual General Meeting of the Hong Kong Tuberculosis, Chest and Heart Diseases Association today. First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Association for its tremendous efforts and remarkable achievements in fighting against tuberculosis in Hong Kong since its establishment in the 1940s. 

2.             Globally, tuberculosis (TB) remains a major public health challenge.  In 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases and also 1.8 million deaths caused by TB in the world. With the dedicated efforts to improve TB care and control by the Association and local TB workers from all sectors, the TB incidence rate in Hong Kong has fallen from a historic high of 697.2 per 100,000 in 1952 to 60.1 per 100,000 in 2016.  The death rate of TB in Hong Kong has also fallen below 4 per 100,000 now.  Nonetheless, with our aging population, increasing population movements and the global emergence of drug-resistant TB, we should remain vigilant and take full advantage of every measure and facility to fight against TB. 

3.             The Association, being one of the Government’s partners, has made significant contributions in organising and participating in various promotional campaigns, conferences and training programmes for medical professionals and the public to raise the awareness of TB.  In March this year, the Association collaborated with the Department of Health and the Hospital Authority in organising the World TB Day Opening Ceremony cum Health Exhibition. The event proved to be very successful and provided a good opportunity to engage the community and all stakeholders in fighting against TB.

4.             In November 2016, the Association also actively participated in the 12th Shanghai, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan — Control of Tuberculosis Conference in Guangdong. The Conference provided a useful platform for medical professionals from the regions to share the latest advances on various aspects of TB and exchange views on relevant policies and guidelines for control of TB.   

5.             Everyone should know that one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 as adopted by the United Nations in 2015 is to end the global TB epidemic.  The WHO End TB Strategy, approved by the World Health Assembly in 2014, calls for a 90% reduction in TB deaths and an 80% reduction in the TB incidence rate by 2030 compared with that of 2015. There are three pillars in the End TB Strategy (i) integrated, patient-centred care and prevention; (ii) bold policies and supportive systems; and (iii) intensified research and innovation. In full support of this strategy, the Government will continue to provide accessible treatment and quality care to TB patients and work closely with stakeholders, including the Association, towards the goal of ending the TB epidemic by 2030.   

6.             Apart from TB, chronic lung and heart diseases are emerging as major challenges to public health services in Hong Kong now.  I am glad to see that the Association has organised various health promotion programmes and exercise classes throughout the year to promote a healthy lifestyle in the community. I am sure all these activities will improve the well-being of Hong Kong citizens.

7.             I believe that all of you are aware of the establishment of the new government term on 1 July 2017.  As the Secretary for Food and Health, to safeguard public health, provide quality medical services, ensure food safety and environmental hygiene as well as assisting the sustainable development of fishery and agriculture will be top priorities on my agenda.  My team and I will continue to work hard for the betterment of Hong Kong.

8.             Last but not least, I would like to take this chance to express my deepest appreciation again to all the Directors and staff members of the Association for their dedication and contribution in combating TB, chest and heart diseases in Hong Kong.  May I wish the Association every success and I look forward to a healthier Hong Kong in the years ahead.

9.             Thank you.