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Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, School of Nursing

AVA 2017 Global Health Summit:

Vulnerability, resilience and Health

Opening Ceremony


7 December 2017 (Thursday)

Speech for SFH

Dr. Walton LI (Medical Superintendent, Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital), Ms. Manbo MAN (Director of Nursing Service, Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital), Dr. Randell ALEXENDER (Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Florida, and Chief of the Division of Child Protection and Forensic Pediatrics), Mr. David L. CORWIN (Board Chair, Academy on Violence & Abuse), Mr. Tansneem ISMAILJI (Co-founder & Board Member of Academy Violence & Abuse), Prof. Agnes TIWARI (Head of School of Nursing, Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital), distinguished guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

         It is my great pleasure to take part in the opening ceremony of the 2017 Global Health Summit, which is the first annual symposium that the Academy on Violence and Abuse (AVA) holds outside the USA. The Summit is jointly organized by the AVA and the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital (HKSH), together with the support of the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine of The University of Hong Kong and the Department of Applied Social Science of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as co-organizers.  It provides an excellent platform for interprofessional learning and international exchanges on prevention of violence and abuse. 

2.          The AVA was created to address the concerns highlighted in a 2002 report by the Institute of Medicine of the United States. The report revealed the frequently unrecognized health impacts of violence and abuse and reminded the health care community to better educate and train health professionals to recognize and understand violence and abuse as an important health care issue. Scientific research has since demonstrated a strong association between exposure to traumatic, adverse experience and serious health and behavioural problems such as smoking, obesity, depression, suicidal attempts, alcoholism, and drug abuse in populations around the world.   It is of utmost importance for health and social care professionals to look beyond the symptoms of these health and behavioural problems, ascertain if violence and abuse are the root causes of the problems and offer therapies, assistance and intervention to individual cases as appropriate.

3.          As the World Health Organisation puts it – there is no health without mental health.  Striving to improve the mental health of specific sectors within the community, including children and adolescents, adults and the elderly, is ever more challenging.  It calls for leadership, determination and cross-sectoral collaboration.

4.          In this connection, the Hong Kong SAR Government established the Advisory Committee on Mental Health last month to advise on mental health policies, including the establishment of more integral and comprehensive approaches to tackle multi-faceted mental health issues in Hong Kong.  It will assist the Government in developing policies, strategies and measures to enhance mental health services in Hong Kong.  It will follow up on and monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the 2017 Mental Health Review Report. 

5.          The Government will also continue to enhance community health through cross-sector and multi-disciplinary collaboration.  We shall evaluate results of the Student Mental Health Support Pilot Scheme and consider ways to provide appropriate support services for students with mental health needs.  We shall also continue to launch an ongoing mental health educational campaign to build a mental-health friendly society and facilitate people with mental health needs to be reintegrated into the community.  Social care professionals will also promote resilience and empowerment of people going through life adversities by means of interprofessional collaboration and community networking efforts.

6.          I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the AVA and the HKSH for organising the 2017 Global Health Summit which is a timely reminder of the importance of bringing together practitioners, researchers, academics, and communities in forging a common goal to advance the knowledge, skills and expertise in the identification, intervention and prevention of life adversities and promotion of mental health at the local, national and international level.

7.          We are also delighted to have an international community of professionals among the delegates in this Summit, including our friends and colleagues from China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States of America for sharing with us their insights on violence prevention and trauma care.  

8.          As the Secretary for Food and Health of the HKSAR Government, to safeguard public health, provide quality medical services, ensure food safety and environmental hygiene will be top priorities on my health agenda.  My team and I will continue to work hard for the betterment of Hong Kong.  I wish the Summit a big success.  Thank you.