Community health is so important

9/10/2007 SCMP


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.

更新日期: 2008-11-17