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Opening Address by SFH at

the 1st Asia Pacific Advanced Heart Failure Forum

Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

to be held on 15 December 2017

Prof (Erik) FUNG [Chairman of the Organising Committee], Prof (Joseph JY) SUNG [President & Vice-Chancellor of CUHK], Prof (Sek-Ying) CHAIR [Director of the Nethersole School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine,CUHK] distinguished guests, colleagues and friends, ladies and gentlemen,

             Good morning.  It is my great pleasure to join you all at the opening of the first Asia Pacific Advanced Heart Failure Forum jointly organised by the Division of Cardiology of the Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery of the Department of Surgery, and the Nethersole School of Nursing under the medical faculty of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  Let me begin by extending a warm welcome to all our celebrated speakers and guests, especially those who have travelled to Hong Kong from afar.

2.          Similar to many other developed economies, heart disease has become the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Hong Kong.  Heart disease covers a wide range of conditions such as coronary disease, congestive heart failure, cardiac rhythm disorder and valvular disease.  Regarding the clinical management of cardiovascular diseases, it is encouraging that our cardiologists have been dedicating their efforts to enhance the clinical care by seeking to introduce new technology in enhancing clinical outcome and ensure that local specialists and trainees are keeping themselves updated in relevant knowledge, technology and skills.

3.          Besides gearing ourselves with the relevant knowledge and skills, it is also our responsibility to inform and educate the public that cardiovascular diseases are closely related to unhealthy lifestyle practices.  The Department of Health of the Hong Kong SAR Government in November released the findings of the Population Health Survey.  The results showed that about 50 per cent of Hong Kong people aged 15 to 84 are overweight or obese, and about 86.3 per cent of the population are not meeting the WHO recommendation for dietary salt intake, with their salt consumption exceeding the limit of 5 grams per day. The Survey also found that prevalence of hypercholesterolaemia for people aged 15 to 84 is 49.5 per cent, while the rate for prevalence of one or more of hypertension, diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolaemia is 59.2 per cent.  The survey revealed unhealthy lifestyle practices, such as inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables, a high-salt diet, drinking, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle, are common.

4.          The HK Government has been working on all fronts in promoting a healthy lifestyle and prevention of heart diseases.  We have been promoting healthy diet, physical activity participation, tobacco control and reduction of alcohol-related harm.  In March 2015, we established the Committee on Reduction of Salt and Sugar in Food, which will make recommendations to the Government on the policy directions and work plans to reduce the intake of salt and sugar by the public.  We have also adopted a combination of legislation, taxation, publicity, education, enforcement and smoking cessation services to enhance tobacco control.  We are also scaling up efforts to educate youth on the harms of alcohol and a bill was introduced into the Legislative Council in June this year with an aim of prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors.

5.         To enhance the coverage of bystander resuscitation and improve the outcome of treatment for sudden cardiac arrest, we have also established a committee across all relevant sectors and specialties to promote such training and importance of the deployment of AED equipment in community facilities.

6.          Ladies and gentlemen, the Forum this morning  provides an excellent opportunity for all participants to stay abreast of the management of advanced heart failure.  I would like to heartily thank the CUHK Medical Faculty for successfully holding this Forum which exemplifies a winning collaboration between physicians, surgeons, nurses, scientists, researchers and allied health professionals involved in the care of patients with heart failure and advanced cardiac disease in Hong Kong and those from the Asia Pacific region.

7.            As the Secretary for Food and Health, to safeguard public health, provide quality medical services, ensure food safety and environmental hygiene will be top priorities on my agenda.  My team and I will continue to work hard for the betterment of Hong Kong. 

8.          Lastly, I would like to wish the CUHK medical faculty continued success in its future endeavours and commend the organising Departments and School for their concerted support and remarkable contributions to the health of the Hong Kong community.  To all the Forum participants, I wish you all an inspiring and fruitful exchange.  Thank you.