Tele-healthcare in Remote Villages of Sai Kung

Sai Kung District Community Center, Hong Kong

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Sai Kung District Community Center (“SKDCC”) is committed to breaking the barriers of geographical dispersion and inconvenience in rural areas with technology, anticipating the perception of rural areas of Hong Kong as enticing alternatives to urban regions. By channeling community capital into the rural community, they are realizing their mission: “to connect and mobilize community resources, to love and care our folks and nature across Sai Kung.”

In joint efforts with ZeShan, SKDCC is providing primary healthcare services for village residents in a new program: Tele-healthcare and Medication Guidance Pilot Project in Sai Kung Rural Communities. The concerns of rural residents often remain in the periphery of the government’s attention, and is hardly addressed by healthcare resources currently provided by the government. One particular pain point is the difficulty rural residents face in reaching mainstream services and resources, especially the elderly population. This situation has only been exacerbated by the current COVID-19 epidemic, where it has become more difficult for them to update their health status, get medical follow-ups, and receive necessary treatment. SKDCC’s program aims at filling this service gap.

While the concept behind this project was not created from scratch, it not been realized due to a lack of resources specifically allocated by Hong Kong’s system to improve the aforementioned situation in rural areas. So far, the program has addressed 40 cases through the provision of 173 home-visit sessions by doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. A total of 221 sessions were conducted for tele-nursing consultation, caregiver consultation and case follow-up.

ZeShan and SKDCC are both striving to make stronger impacts on society, optimistic from the attention and media coverage on this pressing issue brought about by this program. We are hopeful that the outcome evaluation will shed new light on both the social and healthcare sectors to improve the effectiveness of primary healthcare in rural areas.

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Food Buddies in Kwai Tsing

Health in Action, Hong Kong

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During the COVID-19 crisis, we supported Health in Action to address three aspects (physical, psychological and community) of needs and empowerment of low-income families, including working poor and ethnic minorities, in Hong Kong who suffer more under strain of the pandemic.  About 100 most at-risk families will be invited to join the first level of intervention to address the physical needs through cash transfer on fresh food and enhancing health awareness.  Families with mental stress will be invited to participate in second level of interventions on psychological needs and stress management to promote self-care competence. The third level is a Food Buddies program where ‘kai fongs’ will be empowered to co-create a mutual help platform toward a healthy community.

Project Goals:

Provide timely monitoring and support to low-income families to relieve the negative impact of food shortage and mental stress;

Engage and empower the low-income families by enhancing their health awareness, knowledge and behaviour; and

Motivate and mobilize the working poor and ethnic minorities families for providing mutual support to increase community resilience potential and facilitate them to co-create their own healthy community.

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Related Links

Website: 

Health In Action

Cancer Immunotherapy Research & Advanced Training

HKU – QIMR Berghofer, HK & Australia

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ZeShan Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the cutting-edge cancer research and training carried out in the collaboration between Australia’s Queensland Berghofer Medical Research Institute (QIMR Berghofer) and Hong Kong’s Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. The transfer of knowledge and technology between these institutions has provided Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma patients in Hong Kong and Australia with access to ground-breaking cancer treatment, as well as training to Hong Kong post-doctoral fellows in the efforts to build up local capacity in cancer research and treatment.

“Heal Thyself”: Immunotherapy for “Cantonese tumor” 

Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC 鼻咽癌) is an aggressive upper respiratory tract cancer common in East Asia. The 6th most common cancer among Hong Kong males, it’s prevalence in Southern China resulted in the nickname “Cantonese tumor” (廣東瘤). Within the focal area of NPC, the cross-institution research targeted their research on the development of immunotherapy treatment (免疫注射療法), a cell-based treatment that prepares a patient’s own immune system to fight the cancer. At the time of development, it was hoped that immunotherapy would be more effective in treating NPC in comparison to standard cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and at the same time avoid serious side effects of deafness and loss of taste.

Through their research, scientists resolved to extract killer T-cells, a type of white blood cell widely known as the “cancer assassin”, and prime them in a laboratory setting. Once infused back into the patient’s bloodstream, the “primed” cells are able to target and attack malignant cells from the Epstein-Barr (EBV) virus in NPC tumour cells while leaving normal ones intact.

While immunotherapy was a relatively new form of treatment, experts such as Prof. Roy Herbst, chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Centre in the US, had expressed in media interviews the hope that it could potentially replace chemotherapy as the standard cancer treatment within five years.

Phase I Clinical Trial (2009-2012)

In 2008, ZeShan first supported the Phase I clinical trial of this research. The trial took place between 2009 to 2012, recruiting 30 late-stage NPC patients from Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong. The results demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of the developed treatment, improving life expectancy to an overall survival rate of 523 days compared to the 220 days for patients who did not receive the treatment.

 

Phase II Clinical Trial & Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2015-2018)

In 2015, ZeShan continued its support to the second phase clinical trial of this collaboration. The trial began in September of 2015 and was completed in 2018, throughout which immunotherapy treatment was offered to another 30 patients, in this phase targeting patients in earlier stages of NPC in both Hong Kong and Australia. Patients were given up to 6 killer T-cell infusions over 12 weeks and consistently monitored, but were given standard treatment if their diseases progressed.

One element in this collaboration was a four-month advanced training for Hong Kong post-doctoral fellows to master scientific techniques of producing clinical grade killer T-cells, ensuring a solid foundation for further development of local talent in research and clinical care. The training was conducted at QIMR Berghofer’s manufacturing facility, Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics, which was the first facility in Australia to be granted regulatory approval by the country’s Therapeutic Goods Administration to prepare clinical grade T-cell therapies. This magnifies the hope that Hong Kong could eventually set up its very own accredited laboratory, which would allow the city to prepare its own T-cells rather than having them transported between Australia and Hong Kong.

MOU Signing Ceremony

On 28th August 2015, the two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining the convergence and collaboration over cutting-edge cancer research and training, supported by ZeShan Foundation. The ceremony was attended by His Excellency the Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, among other guests. Mr. Roy Chen, Director of ZeShan, delivered a speech on behalf of the foundation.

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“At ZeShan, our philosophy of giving has always been underpinned by three guiding principles: Strategic Philanthropy, Lasting Impact, and Effective Partnership. We have seen all three come together wonderfully in this project. By supporting cutting-edge research by two leading medical research institutions, we hope to help create maximum impact with our funding.”
——Mr. Roy Chen, Director, ZeShan Foundation

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It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

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