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Circle of Life: Evolution of Obstetrics and Midwifery

Circle of Life: Evolution of Obstetrics and Midwifery

Date: 2023/10/7 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Hong Kong Central Library (Lecture Theatre)
Speaker: Ms Alice SHAM (Former General Manager (Nursing) of Kwong Wah Hospital and Founding President of Hong Kong College of Midwives)
Organiser: Jointly organised with the TWGHs Records and Heritage Office
Enquiry: Conducted in Cantonese. Free admission. People who are interested can register via online or call Tung Wah Museum during office hours for reservation starting from 26 Sept 2023. (Office hours: 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., except Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays; Tel: 27700867) First-come, first-served.
Online registration:
If Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 8 or above or a Black Rainstorm Warning Signal or "extreme conditions" announced by the Government is in force 3 hours before the event commences, the event will be cancelled or postponed.
Enquiry Telephone Number: 2770 0867

The evolution of medical practices and technologies in Hong Kong sheds light on the development of the city’s obstetric services. In the “Age of Wenpo (Chinese midwives)” more than a century ago, women gave birth at home. Subsequently, western midwives were introduced and the government vigorously encouraged women to give birth in hospitals in an effort to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates. The demand for midwives surged as a result. After the Second World War, society gradually stabilised, and while the demand for obstetric services continued to grow, a baby boom put the obstetric services of public hospitals under unbearable strain. Indeed, the development of obstetrics was inextricably linked with society and people’s livelihood.
The obstetric services of Kwong Wah Hospital played a major role in the development of Obstetrics in Hong Kong. Countless babies have been born in the hospital since its establishment in 1911. In 2017, Kwong Wah Hospital transferred the records of its Labour Room from 1935 to 1991 to the TWGHs Records and Heritage Office for permanent preservation and research purposes. In this talk, the speaker will offer a detailed account of how obstetric and midwife services were linked to social development in Hong Kong. She will also share the insights she gained from examining the records of the Labour Room of Kwong Wah Hospital.