PolyU Appointed as Host of WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services

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PolyU (http://www.polyu.edu.hk) hailed the inauguration of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services for the Western Pacific region hosted by the University's School of Nursing.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today (20 October) hailed the inauguration of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services for the Western Pacific region hosted by the University's School of Nursing.

Officiating at the ceremony were Prof. Huang Jie-fu, Vice Minister of Ministry of Health, the People's Republic of China; Dr Henk Bekedam, Director of Health Sector Development, WHO Western Pacific Regional Office; Dr Jean Yan, Coordinator of Health Professions Networks, Chief Scientist of Nursing and Midwifery, Department of Human Resources for Health, Health Systems and Services Headquarters, WHO; Ms Kathleen Fritsch, Regional Adviser, Nursing, WHO Western Pacific Regional Office; Dr the Hon York Chow, Secretary for Food and Health, HKSAR Government; Mr Anthony Wu, Chairman of Hospital Authority, Hong Kong; Dr Lam Ping-yan, Director of Health, HKSAR Government; Prof. Timothy W. Tong, President of PolyU; Prof. George Woo, President of Asia Pacific Council of Optometry and Dean of Faculty of Health and Social Sciences of PolyU, and Prof. Samantha Pang, Director of the Centre and Head of School of Nursing, PolyU.

In his welcoming address, PolyU President Prof. Timothy W. Tong said, "PolyU is proud to be designated as the host of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services for the Western Pacific region. Our University and the School of Nursing will strive to provide the best educational programmes and consultation services for healthcare professionals, as well as to develop a quality data bank and web-based health information system for data sharing, professional training and community services development within the region." He has full confidence that the Centre's support to the WHO as part of their international collaborative network will make a major difference in the development of health service provision in the Western Pacific region.

Dr Bekedam said, "The work of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services exemplifies how the nursing profession, other healthcare leaders and the people we serve can work collaboratively in securing the health of vulnerable communities, through Primary Health Care Reforms aimed at improving health equity and universal access to people-centred care. I look forward to continuing our joint endeavours to address the needs of the most vulnerable in society and, in so doing, supporting the overall social and economic development of all people."

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Prof. Huang said, "With increasing globalization, in terms of economic atmosphere, transportations of food and human, public health and many other aspects, Hong Kong and China has become inseparable. The World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services will therefore play a distinctive role in carrying out health-related policies, nursing researches and community health services program activities for people in Western Pacific region."

Dr York Chow also spoke at the ceremony, "PolyU and its School of Nursing have all along devoted to improving community health through nurturing high-calibre professionals in nursing and promoting research and consultancy leading to healthcare innovations. Through joint efforts with WHO, will definitely bring precious knowledge and experience to the University and the School, and will in turn promote the evidence-based community health services at both regional and global level."

The Asia Pacific Council of Optometry and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on future collaboration between the two organizations to foster the promotion of visual welfare of the people in the Western Pacific region. The MOU was signed by Faculty Dean Prof. George Woo in his capacity as the President of Asia Pacific Council of Optometry, and Prof. Samantha Pang, Director of WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services.

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services will be operated by PolyU's well-established School of Nursing. The School has long run numerous community health projects in Hong Kong and impoverished areas of the Chinese mainland to provide basic health checks and health knowledge to the general public.

The presence of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services at PolyU will enlarge the geographical reach and scope of services offered to improve public health according to WHO guidelines, with community health education high on the agenda for the general public and in-service professionals alike. The Centre will also collaborate with various institutions and partners on issues and research in community health, including in the aspects of disaster nursing, infection control, integrative & community health, research, school health and telehealth.

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