Community health is so important
Over the past three years, I have been consistently pressing the government to consider adopting a holistic approach in promoting community health, which can bring about a positive and far-reaching impact to our society, in particular in areas such as social stability, public health, family cohesion and quality of life.
Community health is an essential determinant of health and the indispensable ingredient for effective public health practice. This can be broadly achieved through many policy areas, such as health care, housing, environment and social welfare. Community health emphasises collective participation and inter-sectoral actions to prevent diseases and promote the health of the population.
Why is community health necessary to Hong Kong? In recent years, a significant numbers of health problems in Hong Kong have been mainly caused by the lack of comprehensive elderly health-care services, family violence and malfunctioning, adolescent drug abuse, poor mental health and an unhealthy community environment. Hence, community-focused health promotion should be the best way to improving physical, mental, psychological and environmental health of the citizens of Hong Kong.
The SAR government should establish a community health team in each district. Each team should consist of family doctors, community nurses, pharmacists, rehabilitative health professionals and social workers. They would be responsible for implementing primary health care, not just for the weak and the elderly but also for the young and adults. Through the use of the community health team, people in the community will learn about ways of healthy living, improve their self-care capability, and strengthen their family and carers' support.
Hence, illness and disability will be minimised, and suicide cases and family disputes reduced. To further reinforce the effect of community health, I also suggest extending maternal leave to promote breastfeeding, and to grant such leave to men to help in strengthening bonding in the family as well. Last but not least, green housing and environmentally-friendly settings can also effectively contribute to providing healthy living conditions to our residents in the community.
I hope tomorrow's policy address by the chief executive, will implement these measures, so that individuals, families and the community in Hong Kong are in good health.
Dr Joseph Lee Kok-long, Legislative Councillor, health services constituency
Idling ban is long overdue
While I appreciate the efforts of Thomas Chau, of the Environmental Protection Department ('Drivers did co-operate', October 6), he is deluding himself if he believes that one visit in August resolved the situation. I also resent the inference that I am therefore complaining about a problem that no longer exists.
My experience in September was that the problem was very much on-going.
Mr Chau did highlight the crux of the problem, though, and that is that it is currently not illegal to idle one's engine.
Why would that be? Who are we protecting?
Certainly not your average citizen. Perhaps the chief executive could write to my daughter who has missed three sporting events recently because of the air pollution and explain why this simple measure has not been implemented.
Hong Kong's air pollution is not going to disappear because a law against idling is brought in, but it is certainly a beginning and if the cost is a tai tai, tourist, government official, pampered schoolchild or senior executive having to suffer the reality of a warm vehicle then it is a price well worth paying.
Gareth Jones, North Point
a signal of hope
Reflecting the views of the Humanist International with its multitude of affiliated organisations and as spokesperson for the Humanist Association of Hong Kong, I wish to express the group's deep gratitude to all concerned for the historic act of reconciliation signed on October 4, between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
This is a great signal of hope that, I believe, can be inspirational for so many other countries that in too many instances are using conflict to reach for a supremacy that has little to do with the future of peace.
It is urgently needed to build a universal human nation where all people can participate.
Tony Henderson, chairman, Humanist Association of Hong Kong
We must end this destruction
I was saddened by the decision of the government to dismantle Queen's Pier.
I was against this decision and the decision to dismantle other heritage sites.
Queen's Pier is historically very important.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrived there on May 4, 1975.
It may, of itself, not have been historically important, but I know that many people have fond memories of it.
It is already bad enough that officials demolished the Star Ferry Pier. There was nothing wrong with that pier.
Now people are afraid about what lies in store for the market in Graham Street, Central, which is one of Hong Kong's oldest markets.
It is not just important historically.
I am worried about what will happen to the hawkers who do their business there.
If they have to move, will the government help them to relocate?
If, through no fault of their own, they have to move, they should not have to pay for their removal.
When the government is finished with the building of a new market, will there be enough shops for the hawkers who want to stay there?
If there is not enough room for all of them, or if they do move in, but the rents are higher, the government will have to offer them some financial help.
Nothing can be done for the Star Ferry and Queen's piers, but we need to get the message across to the government, that it is time to stop destroying any more of our heritage.
Charlotta Chan, Pok Fu Lam
Treatment of girl is appalling
Huang Daosheng of China should be condemned for forcing his 10-year-old daughter Huang Li to swim in a river for three hours with her hands and feet bound ('Girl's swim: abuse or pursuing dream?' October 5).
That is abuse, plain and simple and is absolutely shameful.
How did that happen? And who let it happen? Who was watching and taking photos?
How would Huang Daosheng like to have to swim down the Xiang River himself with his limbs bound?
Anna Leung, South Bay
No protection for workers
In the past 22 years, I have never once seen a jackhammer operator in Hong Kong wearing ear protection.
With so many 'for our own good' laws on the books, why is the government mute while workers are going deaf?
Don Ellis, Clear Water Bay