In June, different projects of HIA were in action to achieve a number of targets. Two different health service teams had been deployed to Nepal, in collaboration with Medical Outreachers. HIA coached 33 medical students from both HKU and CUHK under Medical Outreachers who joined the mission. For the Solukhumbu project, community health promotion and wilderness first aid training were delivered to nearly 100 village representatives from six villages, including 3 women groups. More than 500 students from two primary school and two secondary schools were trained, and teachers were engaged in the process. They also provided valuable information on the needs and health issues faced by the community. The team conducted health survey of the community during the health promotion. The evaluation and feedback were done immediately after training which were positive and there are areas that the community would like to be empowered through further training in future. In addition, the HIA team provided ultrasound training to the doctors and nurses in Khunde Hospital. Our working relationship in the mode of remote health support is reinforced with Khunde Hospital and we have set targets on future works on community health promotion and surveillance. The second report of Solukhumbu project will be issued next month.
Another team had been deployed to Namtar to support Shanti Nepal, a NGO established since 2011. In this particular project, they focus on the provision of community health services in a remote mountain region where there are thousands of villagers. Our collaboration is on community health promotion. A similar approach was used as in the Solukhumbu project. Feedback from the community and from Shanti Nepal was applauding as well. Indeed, we treasure the passion, innovation, endurance of harsh environment, cultural acceptability and spirit of giving of the medical students from Medical Outreachers. They bring in added value to the mission. Needless to mention, the support from HIA professional nurses, Vania, Walter and Carrie are recognized by the team. Last but not least are Dr Sharmila from UCN and Matthew, wilderness first aid expert from HKU. One delightful message that I want to share with you is the positive changes observed in these medical students after they have been back from the mission. Dr CC Luk, the cluster chief executive of Hong Kong West had reflected to us the personal development and change in perspective on relationship with the world that he had observed on students who had joined the mission, which is important in developing a caring and responsible doctor with global vision.
In Hong Kong, the health needs survey on working poor family has started. HIA is working with NWSC and CUHK with support from Oxfam. A new program, Disaster Preparedness Project on Cabinet Residents on Fire Precaution in Kwong Fai Wai, Kwai Chung will start this month. We will work with local community groups and retired firemen. HIA is also coaching 3 students studying Master of Public Health from HKU on research of different community health projects in Hong Kong targeting working poor group and other vulnerable groups.
Through the great support from FTI foundation, working poor health project in Kwai Tsing District is still on track to expand and reinforce the support for our target beneficiaries’ health needs. One new service scope that HIA will deploy is on mental health wellbeing, as there are great concerns and needs identified in the community. In HIA’s newsletter this month, we are happy to have our old friend, Eliza Cheung who had volunteered for us in the pilot project of asylum seekers and refugees in 2012, to share her experience and views on mental health which is inspiring.
We want to thank the volunteers who helped to deploy the World Refugee Day exhibition at Star Ferry Pier in Central as it was an important awareness and advocacy effort to educate the public on the health needs and humanitarian needs of refugees in Hong Kong. We are working with Hong Kong Red Cross on conflict simulation and sharing sessions to raise awareness and educate local youth about refugees. In July, HIA will organize a dental outreach service for refugees and asylum seekers who suffer from dental problems. There will be 120 quotas available.
As LegCo election is approaching, HIA takes this opportunity to participate actively in different health policy discussion platforms to advocate for the improvement in health access and to increase investment in holistic community health system which is the best solution to long term health needs of Hong Kong. This is also one important cornerstone to achieve health equity in our society. When HIA expressed our proposal in a forum themed on improving the inadequacy of health service for grassroots, our views were echoed by multiple panelists and participants including think tank, health policy concerned groups and political parties. We have to stress that although HIA welcomes collaboration in terms of working towards the objective of delivering a more accessible and equitable healthcare system to the needed in our home society, we will observe neutrality, independence and not be affected by any political parties. Contrarily, we should use our profession and proximity to needy to advocate for their right to health.