(Hong Kong, 12 November 2011) The 4thAnnual Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population jointly organized by the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) with the support of the Li Ka Shing Foundation ‘Heart of Gold’ Hong Kong Hospice Service Program, was held at the Shaw Auditorium in the School of Public Health Building in the Prince of Wales Hospital today (12 November 2011). Officiating at the Opening Ceremony of the Symposium were Professor S. P. Lee, Dean, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU and Professor T. F. Fok, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK; the representative from Li Ka Shing Foundation and Dr. Cheung Wai Lun, Director (Cluster Services), Hospital Authority.
Renowned speakers in the field of palliative care and pain management from the United States, mainland China and Hong Kong were invited to deliver keynote speeches at the Symposium. They were Dr. David Hill, Immediate Past President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), who spoke on ‘Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative’; Dr. Colin Wozencraft, Co-director for the Harvard Medical School Vietnam Palliative Care Fellowship in Vietnam, who spoke on ‘Palliative Care Development in Vietnam’; Professor Fan Bifa, Vice President of the Chinese Association for the Study of Pain, who spoke on ‘Development and Progress of Pain Management in mainland China’; and Dr. Rico Liu, representative of the Central Committee (Palliative Care) of the Hospital Authority, who spoke on ‘Pain Control in Patients with Incurable Cancer – Sharing of Hong Kong Experience’. This year, a plenary speech by Dr. Cheung Chi Wai, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Anaesthesiology, HKU and Dr. Yvonne Yau, Clinical Associate Professor (Honorary), Department of Clinical Oncology, CUHK respectively was arranged in the Symposium to share the latest clinical management of hospice services. Over 100 health care professionals from different backgrounds took part in the symposium. There were parallel sessions on topics ranging from pain and symptoms management to models of palliative care.
Globally, seven million people die of cancer each year and more than three million die in severe pain. Unfortunately, more than 99% of these deaths are in low and middle-income countries. The likelihood of getting effective pain relief varies from approaching 100% in high-income countries to 5% in low-income countries. One major factor is appropriate access to opioid pain-killer. This annually held Palliative Care Symposium brings together workers and researchers on palliative care in Chinese societies and international renowned experts with the aims of enhancing knowledge on state-of-the-art pain relief measures,, sharing experience on tackling the specific difficulties in Chinese culture and exploring the most cost-effective solutions for future improvement, which will in turn uplift the quality of hospice services to benefit the Chinese population.
The two faculties are indebted to the continued support from the Li Ka Shing Foundation and its sponsorship for this symposium. The Foundation aims at contributing to society by helping those in need to build a better life. Its munificent support in health care has benefited countless patients in Hong Kong, mainland China and worldwide. In 1998, the Foundation pioneered free hospice care services in the mainland with the establishment of the ‘Heart of Gold’ Nationwide Hospice Service Program. The Foundation’s total donation of over $400 million has supported 42 hospice centres in the mainland and Hong Kong, benefiting 110,000 cancer patients.
The organizers are also thankful to the Hospital Authority which aims at providing holistic care to the patients in Hong Kong. The Hospital Authority provides patients with comprehensive palliative care services including treatment and support through multidisciplinary collaboration in its palliative care centres.
CUHK Faculty of Medicine