First HKAPI Patient Empowerment Forum
Patients, concern groups and pharmaceutical professionals gathered for the first Patient Empowerment Forum in Hong Kong organized by HKAPI. Over 100 representatives from 25 patient groups and HKAPI members attended the half-day session on August 19, 2017, and had an extensive and in-depth exchange of views on patients’ rights and issues relating to patient advocacy.

The Forum included keynote speeches by representatives of patient groups and veteran campaigners. Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and Mr. K P Tsang, President of Hong Kong Alliance of Rare Diseases, introduced the principles of patient advocacy and examined its development at home and overseas. They also shared their experiences in promoting patient participation in the policymaking process.

The Forum was complemented by two discussions attended by representatives of 11 patient groups. Mr. Tim Pang Hung-cheong, community organizer of the Society for Community Organization joined Ms. Anchor Hung, Senior Manager of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation (Research, Advocacy and Special Projects), Mr. Yuen Siu Lam of the Hong Kong Alliance of Patients' Organizations Limited, Mr. Alex Lam, Chairman of Hong Kong Patients' Voices, and Mr. Oliver Woo, former president of Hong Kong Adult Blood Cancer Group Limited, in the first sharing session. Speakers shared their views on certain problems faced by patients in Hong Kong, including the inadequacy of resources within the public healthcare system, as well as ineffective representation of patient groups in policymaking.

The second discussion, moderated by Mr. Patrick Wong Tai-shing, CEO of 8765 Diabetes, shed light on challenges faced by campaign groups and individuals in advocating policy change. Ms. Rebecca Yuen Pui-ling, Chairwoman of the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Association, Mr. Tim Pang Hung-cheong, community organizer of the Society for Community Organization, Mr. Mico Chow Man-cheung , Chairman of HK FamilyLink Mental Health Advocacy Association, Mr. Chan Wing-kai, Chairperson of The Hong Kong Asthma Society, and Mr. Alan Ng, founder of Limited talked about their advocacy efforts to raise public awareness and about their strategies for pushing policymakers to shift policy priorities.

Ms. Sabrina Chan, senior executive director of HKAPI, said the Forum serves as a platform for stakeholders to examine patient empowerment, which would be conducive to further safeguarding patients’ interests and ensuring better resource allocation in Hong Kong’s health system. She believed that the collaboration between patients groups, policy makers and the pharmaceutical industry is essential for promoting people-centered care and enhancing medical service in Hong Kong.

Video of the Forum: