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About HKCFP > President’s Message

January 2021

The fourth wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong reached its peak as we said goodbye to the challenging year of 2020. Clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks happened from time to time and there were a couple of outbreaks in public hospitals towards the end of last December due to asymptomatic patients with community-acquired infection. The needs for stopping the invisible transmission chain and enhanced infection control measures especially for vulnerable patients and frontline medical staff are most imminent. The government has also continued to conduct compulsory testing for relevant contacts of cases. 

As doctors, we face pressure in our daily practice and have to make difficult decisions even when confronted with uncertainties. Dame Clare Marx, the General Medical Council (GMC) Chair, mentioned recently in her GMC website that responding to this pandemic would require us to do things differently, to be flexible, and to work right to the edge of our comfort zone, and in some cases beyond. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your professionalism and resilience in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.

2021 has arrived with the good news that several COVID-19 vaccines may be available in Hong Kong in the near future as part of the global vaccination programme, so there may be light at the end of the tunnel. Due to the current pandemic, several new vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed for urgent use around the world, including in mainland China and several overseas countries thus far. The government has called a consultation meeting among the healthcare sector representatives and subsequently announced in the media that a central expert panel would be in charge of the vaccination programme and they would examine the available clinical data about the new vaccines including their efficacies and side effect profiles before making recommendations on their use in Hong Kong. Due to the different formulations of the various brands of new vaccines, their requirements for logistics, transportation and storage are not exactly the same. Government sources also mentioned in the media that tentatively the vaccinations would be provided via four main channels, including community vaccination centres to be set up in 18 districts, by private clinics, by outreaching teams for some elderly target groups, and by public clinics. Further details about the COVID-19 vaccination programmes are expected to be announced by the government soon.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) pointed out recently that the COVID-19 pandemic, as a health crisis of historic proportions, has shown us just how closely connected we all are. (https://www.who.int/news/item/30-12-2020-covid-19-anniversary-and-looking-forward-to-2021) We now have the opportunity to help each other along the way, from sharing vaccines fairly, to offering accurate advice, compassion and care to all who need, as one global family. We must grasp this moment together diligently. In the meantime, we must keep adhering to the tried and tested means of maintaining social distance, wearing face masks, practising hand and environmental hygiene. These simple, yet effective measures will help reduce the potential morbidity and mortality as well as suffering in the community.

As mentioned previously, the District Health Centre (DHC) is a government initiative intending to be a key component of the public healthcare system in a bid to enhance the public's awareness of disease prevention as well as their self-health management capabilities. The government has planned to have DHCs in all 18 districts. Our College has set up a DHC taskforce and would like to ascertain our members’ views on DHCs and hence a short online survey has been sent out by our Research Committee to that effect. We look forward to your help in filling in the survey and 1 CME point will be allocated to members who have completed the survey by the stated deadline.

It was with great sadness that we learned about the passing away of Dr. Cynthia Shiu Yee Chan in Canada in December last year. Dr. Chan has been a well respected Family Physician working in the Chinese University of Hong Kong and then in the Hospital Authority before returning to Canada. She has also been contributing towards the work of our College actively throughout the years. Dr. Chan has continued to share with our colleagues in Hong Kong on several occasions even after she has returned to work in Canada by coming back to deliver talks in conferences in Hong Kong as well as in CME lectures of the College. Dr. Chan has been a role model and a mentor for many family doctors across the generations. She will surely be missed. Our thoughts are very much with Dr. Chan’s family. May she rest in peace.

Please keep well and stay safe. 

Wishing you all a very healthy and happy 2021!

Dr. David V K CHAO
President

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