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40th Anniversary Celebration
About HKCFP > President’s Message

March 2017

The Food and Health Bureau has gone ballistic since the beginning of the year. The Legco has begun the discussion on Proposal to Amend the Health Warnings on Packets and Retail Containers of Tobacco Products, and Proposed Regulatory Framework for Medical Devices. Regulation of Private Healthcare Facilities and the Composition of Medical Council related to Medical Registration Ordinance (Amendment) Bill are in the pipelines.

Prof Sophia Chan, the Under Secretary for Food and Health, has spoken to me recently regarding the Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Formula Milk and Related Products, and Food Products for Infants & Young Children (“the Hong Kong Code”). I have promised her the College will certainly support and elaborate on my message to Members of the College.

The superiority of breastfeeding in ensuring physical and psychosocial health and well-being of mother and child as well as the important impacts of early nutrition on long-term health are widely recognised. Suboptimal breastfeeding practices incur considerable economic loss and preventable infant deaths. The creation of an environment that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding requires a systemic approach, which includes enabling parents to make informed decisions on infant feeding free from commercial influence. In May 2016, WHO issued the “Guidance on ending the inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children” (“2016 WHO Guidance”). The Guidance recommended that “products that function as breast-milk substitutes should not be promoted”.

The aggressive marketing of formula milk in Hong Kong has been considered as one of the contributing factors to the low breastfeeding rates in the local community. The implementation of the HK Code is just part of the effort to attain optimal infant and young child feeding practices. Ongoing and concerted actions by the Government and various sectors of the community are necessary for the purpose of protecting and promoting breastfeeding and hence optimal infant and young child feeding. The HK Code is voluntary in nature and I appeal to our members to abstain from giving out formula milk samples and not to sell breast-milk substitutes in the clinic.

To kick start the 40th Anniversary celebration, the Public Education Committee has already coordinated 2 programmes starting this month. The TV programme 'My Family Doctor 2017' (升級家庭醫生), jointly produced by Radio Television Hong Kong, Primary Care Office of Department of Health and our College will be shown on RTHK TV Channel 31 in March 2017. The programme will show clips of the previous TV drama 'My Family Doctor' and 'My Family Doctor II'. Our College representatives with other invited healthcare professionals and presenter Mr. Wong He (王喜) will have discussion forum on various healthcare topics related to the episodes and will enhance the audiences with more knowledge on management and prevention of these common problems. Secondly, the quarterly public health education programme will have the first outing on Saturday 25th March 2017 at The Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong in Wanchai. Dr. Ngan Po Lun will talk on allergic rhinitis and asthma, and Dr. Au Chi Lap is tasked with cardiovascular health. Please put up the poster in your clinic and encourage your patients to attend.

Finally, if you can spare the Saturday on 25th March, please join us at Primary Care Research Symposium 2017 - Implementing Quality in Primary Care at HKU. The symposium will feature a keynote presentation by the 2017 HKCFP Visiting Professor in Family Medicine at HKU, Professor Martin Roland. As Emeritus Professor of Health Services Research, University of Cambridge, Professor Roland is a champion of quality enhancement of primary care who designed the “pay for performance” policy in the UK among his other achievements. In the symposium, he will discuss approaches to designing a health care system to meet the needs of the increasing population of patients with multiple complex medical conditions which will certainly apply to Hong Kong.

Dr. Angus M W CHAN