On June 1, 2004, Hong Kong’s Department of Health launched the Center for Health Protection (CHP) under the recommendation from the SARS Expert Committee Report. The CHP will help strengthen Hong Kong’s ability to prevent and control communicable diseases. In order to pool professional knowledge and expertise on communicable diseases, the CHP set up a Board of Scientific Advisors, a panel of local and international experts. Through the establishment of the CHP, Hong Kong will be better able to handle health threats and outbreaks of diseases.
The Board of Scientific Advisors is supported by six committees, each responsible for a different function within the CHP. These committees will encourage communication between local healthcare professionals, community members, academics, Hong Kong government departments, and international healthcare authorities. The six branches are as follows: Program Management and Professional Development Branch, Public Health Laboratory Services Branch, Public Health Services Branch, Surveillance and Epidemiology Branch, Emergency Response and Information Branch and the Infection Control Branch. Some of the key functions of these committees include disease surveillance, risk communication, training in infection control for all healthcare professionals, and the establishment of an emergency preparedness plan to tackle the outbreak of a disease. Additionally, the CHP committees will also provide for the creation of a central communicable disease information system, offering healthcare professionals regular reports on the latest communicable diseases and infections of concern in Hong Kong.