Tradition in demand
The first graduates from Hong Kong Baptist University's Bachelor of Pharmacy in Chinese Medicine have been snapped up in the jobs market, proving the value of a programme that had trouble attracting public funding. The 14 graduates received, on average, two offers and a monthly salary of about $12,000.
Professor Liu Liang, dean of Chinese medicine at HKBU, said that at the programme's launch, some felt there was no difference between Chinese medicine practitioners and herbal pharmacists. Moreover, there were no regulations governing the registration of pharmacists of Chinese medicine. Lack of awareness of the field, and the general reliance on Western medicine, had made it difficult to convince the University Grants Committee to fund the programme, he said.
As a result, the programme was started in 2001 without government funding. However, from this September it will be fully-funded by the UGC. Professor Liu said that the graduates' success proved the programme's worth.
'The success of graduates in gaining employment shows society's need for professional Chinese medicine pharmacists, and a bright future for the development of Chinese medicine,' he said, adding: 'I have confidence in the development of our programme as it is in tune with the world trend of reaching out to nature.'