Region's family doctors to discuss primary care at HK conference

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 May, 2009, 12:00am

More than 500 family doctors from the Asia-Pacific region will meet in Hong Kong next week to discuss ways to promote primary health care.

The regional conference of the World Organisation of Family Doctors, organised by the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians, will run from Thursday to Sunday.

Key speakers include Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Disease director Zhong Nanshan and renowned Aids scientist David Ho Da-I.

The president of the family-doctor organisation's Asia-Pacific region, Donald Li Kwok-tung, said the conference would focus on patient- centred care and community mental health services.

'Community mental health services are getting more important,' he said. 'It is a global trend that mental patients are treated by family doctors instead of psychiatric hospitals.'

Primary care and preventive medicine were becoming more important in global health care development, Dr Li also said.

The World Health Organisation passed a resolution at the World Health Assembly earlier this month that reaffirmed the values of primary health care. Dr Li said the resolution was a 'milestone' because it urged member states to ensure 'political commitment at all levels' to strengthen the primary care system.

It also requires member states to report regularly to the WHO on their development of primary care.

The conference will discuss the impact of the resolution and the role of family doctors.

Dr Li said he was glad the Hong Kong government had placed importance on primary care in the coming reform of health care. The government set up a taskforce on primary care this year.

Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said earlier that the city would set up a family-doctor system.

Professor Zhong, from the mainland, who is also a consultant to the central government, would give a speech on the role of family doctors in the control of swine flu, while some mainland health officials would brief the conference on the latest health care reform.