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About HKCFP > President’s Message

June 2020

Normally, June is the month for schools’ end of year examinations. But this year, we are still experiencing the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, here and around the world. I would like to thank you all for continuing to contribute actively towards the “early testing and detection” approach adopted by Centre of Health Protection (CHP), Department of Health. My last email communication to you on 1 June happened to coincide with the latest communication issued by CHP (Please click HERE) appealing to doctors to arrange COVID-19 test for all patients presenting with any symptoms, irrespective of their travel history and clinical severity, and travel history is not a prerequisite for offering COVID-19 testing. Since then, I gathered that the total number of Deep Throat Saliva (DTS) specimens received by the Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Programme has been on the rise, which is very encouraging and important for the aforementioned strategy to work properly.A recent review of the early COVID-19 data suggested that the prevalence of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection might be a significant factor in therapid progression of the COVID-19 pandemic (Please refer to the WEBSITE).

Therefore, there is no room for complacency and we should all continue to stay vigilant and help to break the transmission chain for disease containment by performing COVID-19 testing as indicated. Together, we fight the virus!

This year, the World No Tobacco Day (31 May 2020) has the spotlight on protecting children and young people from exploitation by the tobacco industry. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), over 40 million young people aged 13-15 have already started to use tobacco. Therefore, educating the youth is vital because nearly 9 out of 10 smokers start before age 18. WHO recently launched a new toolkit for school students aler ting them about the tactics employed to lure them to be tobacco users (please refer to the WEBSITE).  From a government press release related to the Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Bill, it is regrettable to learn that the Bills Committee has recent made a decision to cease its work on the Bill, which could have prevented the invasions by electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and heated tobacco products (HTPs) into Hong Kong. WHO has stated that both e-cigarettes and HTPs are harmful to health and smoking products containing nicotine are additive. Furthermore, a recent review on the available evidence related to COVID-19 hospital admissions suggested that smoking was associate with increased severity of disease and death in hospitalised COVID-19 patients (please refer to the WEBSITE) With the well-established harms associated with tobacco use and second hand smoke exposure, WHO recommends that tobacco users to quit. Proven interventions to help smokers quit include quit lines for counselling, mobile text-messaging cessation programmes, nicotine replacement therapies and approved medications. Just a quick reminder that in the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) disease coding system authored by the WONCA International Classification Committee, the code for “Tobacco Abuse” is P17. Let’s continue to join hands in preventing people in the community to become smokers, help our patients to quit and make our society a tobacco-free society!

Each year, our College organises several career talks about Family Medicine as a specialty for interested colleagues, interns and medical students alike. The forthcoming one would be on 11 June from 6pm to 9pm, thanks to our Young Doctors’ Committee for being in charge of this talk. Due to the current pandemic, it would be held online for the first time but the popularity has been unchanged as we have already received 150 registrations at the time of writing. We would be sharing with the audience about the training structure and processes, the various career options and future developments of Family Medicine as a discipline. In case you want to know a bit more about what is on offer by Family Medicine, but unable to make it this time, please watch out for our future announcements for talks in other parts of the year. 

To carry on about training, our College has been running Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Professional Development programmes to suit every taste, be it for colleagues who are new to the field or those who just want to have an update on various topics related to family practice. The Diploma in Family Medicine (DFM) is a well established one year par t-time programme for medical practitioners, providing updates in clinical knowledge and practical skills relevant to daily clinical practice through a pragmatic and structured approach. The DFM is a quotable qualification recognised by the Medical Council of Hong Kong. For colleagues who may prefer a simpler course structure due to time constraints or other reasons, the Certificate Course of Essential Family Medicine is a newly designed course which also forms part of the DFM curriculum, should the colleagues wish to pursuit DFM in due course, is the perfect solution. Both of these courses are taught by experienced clinicians in the field and are now open for enrolment for the 2020-2021 academic year. Please refer to the corresponding announcements or contact the College secretariat via the usual channels. Just in case you did not realise, being a member of the HKCFP would entitle you to a substantial discount on the regular fees. Do join the HKCFP big family if you have not done so. Again, please contact our helpful secretariat for more details.

Dr. David V K CHAO