City needs Chinese medicine hospital

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 April, 2013, 3:17am

I am a German PhD student at the school of Chinese medicine at Hong Kong Baptist University.

I am writing regarding recent developments concerning the former Lee Wai Lee campus site.

I studied traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in Beijing for five years and moved to Hong Kong in 2012. I came here mainly because of Hong Kong's reputation for being a modern, open and international city that serves as a major bridge between East and West.

Baptist University's school of Chinese medicine has an international reputation as a strong research facility that frequently publishes high-quality studies in evidence-based Chinese medicine.

When I first realised that Hong Kong does not have a single TCM hospital, I was very surprised. Considering that every medium-sized provincial city on the mainland has at least one such hospital, how come there is not a single one in Hong Kong?

Even Germany has four TCM hospitals and Chinese medicine only has a short history there.

There are Chinese medicine practices and clinics all over Hong Kong, but not a single major centre in the form of a TCM hospital. I find that rather strange.

The advantages of such a health care centre are obvious. For example, it could offer TCM inpatient care, large-scale research on Chinese herbal treatment, and development and refinement of administration modalities to successfully integrate Western and Chinese health care.

Having such a facility would mean a better provision of health care for the people of Hong Kong, especially for those who have chronic diseases or are recovering from a major illness. But that's not where the benefits end. A TCM hospital would serve Hong Kong and Baptist University. It would lead to more foreign students coming here and studying the ancient art of Chinese medicine in a modern, scientific and evidence-based-oriented environment.

Coming to this city would be a very attractive prospect for them, given that because of the lack of academic standards and certain amenities they refrain from studying TCM on the mainland.

Not only would Hong Kong's image benefit from of a high-quality TCM hospital, it would also set an example to the rest of the world. Having a TCM teaching facility for foreign students and doctors will help with the global spread of Chinese medicine, and that can only enhance health care for people throughout the world.

Marcus Gadau, Kowloon Tong