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Opening Remarks by SFH at

Western Pacific Regional Conference 2017

of Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA)

26 August 2017

仇鸿副主任 (中央人民政府驻香港特别行政区联络办公室女士)
牟虹部长 (全国妇联联络部)
张方副部长 (中央人民政府驻香港特别行政区联络办公室)
Dr. CC Lau (Vice President (General Affairs), Hong Kong Academy of Medicine)
Prof. Dr. Bettina Pfleiderer (President, MWIA)
Dr. Cissy Yu (President, HKWDA and Vice-President, Western Pacific Region, MWIA)
Ms. Irene Lee (President, Hong Kong Midwives Association)
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

                Good afternoon to you all. 

2.             It is my great pleasure to be here today at the Opening Ceremony of the Western Pacific Regional Conference 2017 of the Medical Women’s International Association.  First of all, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our distinguished guests, especially those who have travelled to Hong Kong from around the world.  I trust that you will enjoy our hospitality and wish you have a wonderful stay with us here.

3.             I would also like to heartily congratulate the Hong Kong Women Doctors Association on successfully organizing this event.  I am delighted to learn that this Conference has attracted over 250 healthcare professionals from overseas, Hong Kong, as well as Mainland China.  With distinguished speakers and guests sharing their novel discoveries in treatment, as well as clinical and scientific research for women health, I am sure this Conference will be a great opportunity for healthcare practitioners from all parts of the world to share personal insights and expertise in women health for the betterment of global health outcomes.

4.             The theme of today’s conference is “WomanHealthEmpowerment”.  The Hong Kong SAR Government attaches great importance to enhance the well-being of women in Hong Kong.  Of the Hong Kong’s current population of 6.9 million local population, women account for 3.62 million while 3.37 million are men.  Women have outnumbered men by around 250,000.  Improving the health and well-being of our women is one of our major work in public health services.

5.             Our Department of Health (DH) provides the Women Health Service to promote the health of women according to their health needs at various stage of life, such as sexual and reproductive health services, family planning, screening mammography, cervical screening service, menopause service, and mental health services.

6.             What’s more, attributing to our quality and accessible maternal health services through a professional team of health workers in both the public and private sectors, our maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is among the best in the world.  Our neonatal mortality rate and under-5 mortality rate is also among the best in the world, as a result of socio-economic progress, better education, improvement in nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, and the development of medical and health services.

7.             One important women-related policy that I would like to mention is the Government’s active commitment in promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding.  We have set up the Committee on Promotion of Breastfeeding to formulate a series of work plan, including strengthening support for breastfeeding in healthcare institutions and the community, and formulating the code of marketing for formula milk and related projects.  With concerted efforts of various sectors, most of the measures have achieved significant results.  The breastfeeding rate in Hong Kong over the past 20 years has been on the rise.  We are delighted to see that the breastfeeding rate on hospital discharge increased from 19% in 1992 to 87% in 2016, while the exclusive breastfeeding rate among 4-month-old babies increased from 19% for those born in 2012 to 31% for those born in 2016.

8.             All in all, the Hong Kong SAR Government endeavors to ensure the quality and efficiency of the healthcare services in Hong Kong.  We will continue to increase investment in public healthcare facilities and make improvements through initiatives.  We are also committed to implementing continuously a series of reform measures, including the promotion of long-term development of primary care and Chinese medicine, introduction of the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme, revamp of the regulatory regime for private healthcare facilities and further development of electronic health record sharing, etc.

9.             On healthcare manpower, we have completed the first territory-wide review on healthcare manpower planning and professional development and released the review report a couple of months ago.    Ten recommendations have been proposed to lay the foundation for healthcare manpower planning and chart the course of development and regulation of healthcare professionals.  We would be delighted to hear any ideas or suggestions on healthcare manpower planning and professional regulation and development.

10.           The programme for this Conference covers a wide range of topics and specialty areas throughout the life’s journey.  I trust that you all will witness the latest discoveries and have inspiring debates in women’s health at this Conference.  And I have pleasure to declare the official opening of the Western Pacific Regional Conference 2017 of the Medical Women’s International Association.  I wish you all three fruitful days of enjoyable and beneficial programme, with a stimulating and rewarding time.

11.           Thank you.