Health :: Senior health officials reaffirm importance of close co-operation

Senior health officials of the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macau today (November 6) reaffirmed the importance of co-operation and information exchange in a tripartite meeting.

Speaking in Macau at the opening of the Fifth Joint Meeting of Senior Health Officials of the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr York Chow, said that since the signing of the Co-operation Agreement on Response Mechanism for Public Health Emergencies in October last year, co-operation and communication between the three places were much closer.

He said that as avian influenza and influenza pandemic had posed serious threat to the international community, the three places should further strengthen and improve the exchange and co-operation in the monitoring, forewarning and handling of human infection of avian influenza and novel type of influenza on the platform of the Co-operation Agreement. The three places should also enhance exchange, training and scientific research co-operation.

As swift response was crucial in tackling infectious diseases, Dr Chow suggested the three places made more use of information technology in enhancing data exchange.

He added that the setting up of the Centre for Food Safety in May had further enhanced the work on monitoring of food safety in Hong Kong. The passage of the Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Bill in October helped extend the smoking ban to all indoor areas of workplaces to protect the public from the health hazards of secondhand smoking. He expected the three places to have more exchange on the scope of work.

Topics of discussion in the two-day meeting were: the implementation of Co-operation Agreement on Response Mechanism for Public Health Emergencies; the discharge of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; medical and health care system building; development of community health services in cities; traditional Chinese medicine in disease prevention; and hospital management.

The Mainland delegation was led by the Vice-Minister of the Mainland’s Ministry of Health, Professor Huang Jiefu; while the Macao Special Administrative Region delegation was headed by the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of Macau, Dr Chui Sai-on.