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Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care (JCSPHPC)

Graduation Ceremony 2017

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

16 November 2017

Speech by Secretary for Food and Health

Professor (Francis KL) CHAN (Dean, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK), Professor (EK) YEOH (Director, JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, CUHK), distinguished guests, graduates, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

                It is my great pleasure to join you all this evening at the Graduation Ceremony of the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care 2017.  First of all, my heartfelt congratulations to our graduates.  Your years of hard work has yielded fruits.  I would also like to congratulate your family and friends, who are all here and have supported you throughout the development of your career in the healthcare profession.  You all deserve a big round of applause.

2.             Health is the most important asset for every one of us and for a city’s sustainable development.  Hong Kong people enjoy a long life expectancy, with an average of 81 years and 87 years for men and women respectively.  This represents an increase of eight years compared with 30 years ago.  It is estimated that by 2041, Hong Kong’s population will reach 8.5 million, with persons aged 65 or above accounting for 30% of the total population.  Our rapidly ageing population has already given rise to rapid upsurge of healthcare needs in recent years and it will certainly be more severe in the coming years.

3.             In the face of these challenges, Hong Kong needs a balanced approach in ensuring the quality, access and sustainability of our healthcare services to the public.  On the one hand, we have rolled out a 10-year hospital development plan to strengthen our hospital and medical care facilities.  On the other hand, we also need to strengthen our primary health care.  Being the first level of health care, primary health care embraces strong elements of health promotion, disease prevention, rehabilitation and maintenance of the health of chronic patients and the disabled.    

4.             The Chief Executive in the 2017 Policy Address announced that the Government would set up a steering committee on primary healthcare development to comprehensively review the existing planning of primary healthcare services and draw up a development blueprint.  Its work will include drawing up a model for district-based medical-social collaboration, using big data to identify areas of medical care services and establishing a framework to implement measures on disease prevention, screening and identification.

5.             The Food and Health Bureau will also set up a district health centre in Kwai Tsing district within two years with a view to enhancing public awareness of disease prevention and their capability in self-management of health through public-private partnership, providing support for the chronically ill and relieving the pressure on specialist and hospital services.  With the experience gained from the pilot scheme, we will progressively set up district health centres in other districts.

6.             It is certain that Hong Kong would see an increasing need for public health professionals to support the development of district health systems in the coming years.  In this connection, I am glad to see that over 230 graduates today have successfully completed studies in Public Health, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Health Services Management and Community Health Practice which are all major disciplines conducive to the development of primary healthcare in Hong Kong.  May I appeal to all of our graduates for your continuous support of Hong Kong’s healthcare reforms in particular the development of primary healthcare for the years to come.

7.             May I also take this opportunity to extend my hearty gratitude to The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care of the Chinese University of Hong Kong for nurturing over 10,000 healthcare professionals since 2001. Through commissioned research studies, the School also helps inform the Government on important health topics such as end-of-life care, healthcare service utilization, service provision for elderly care, regulatory frameworks for healthcare professionals, as well as evaluation of the colorectal cancer screening pilot programme in Hong Kong. 

8.             The Government regards the Faculty and the School as important partners in healthcare service delivery.  We shall continue to count on the Faculty and the School for nurturing talented healthcare professionals while advancing public health and primary healthcare for the benefit of our community.

9.             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.  

10.           Last but not least, Graduates, it remains for me to extend to you all and your beloved ones my heartiest congratulations.  You have been offered solid training in professionally recognised competencies and areas core to public health by a very fine school.  I encourage you all to embrace your future professional career as well as its uncertainty, challenges and rewards with utmost eagerness and energy.  And I look forward to working with you in future to contribute to the healthcare sector and to the whole community at large. 

11.           My best wishes!