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“Charity and Healthcare: Tung Wah Archives and Hong Kong’s Early Healthcare Development” Subject Talks

“Charity and Healthcare: Tung Wah Archives and Hong Kong’s Early Healthcare Development” Subject Talks

In this series of talks, experts and scholars will share with you the findings of their research on Hong Kong's early healthcare development. It is hoped that the talks will arouse public interest in the history of healthcare in Hong Kong while showing members of the public the importance of Tung Wah's archives and its efforts in conserving the historical records.

Past Activities

How Can a Government Nurture Its People When There Is Not Enough Food? Hong Kong Government’s Stance and Measures towards Undernourished Chinese People Between 1900 and 1941
Date: 2019/9/28 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Hong Kong Central Library (Lecture Theatre)
Description: At the turn of the 20th century, the Hong Kong government was rather concerned about beriberi, a major public hygiene problem, but the matter was later put aside. Although the medical community subsequently confirmed that the condition was linked to malnutrition, the Hong Kong government had no intention to intervene in Chinese people's dietary habits and living conditions, and beriberi remained a serious problem. During the 1930s, Hong Kong's population surged as a result of the Japanese invasion of China, and the influx of refugees created a lot of problems for the city. Director of Medical Services, Dr. Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke, who took office in 1938, adopted a proactive approach, introducing the latest research findings on nutritional science applied to communities in Britain while organising a number of promotion activities and searching for economic meal solutions. In the 1940s, the TWGHs designed nutritional menus for patients staying in its hospitals, in line with the government's “nutritional science” promotion initiative. This period of history spanning four decades bear testimony to the everyday lives of Hong Kong people, as well as reflect the political, social, economic and cultural changes behind Britain's administration of Hong Kong.
1930s to 1950s Labour Room Records of the Kwong Wah Hospital – What Can We Learn? (Full)
Date: 2019/9/7 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Venue: Quarry Bay Public Library (Extension Activities Room)
Description: Labour and delivery of newborn babies are normal physiological process ever since there are human beings, but not always. Kwong Wah Hospital which belongs to the big family of the TWGHs has been providing obstetrics service for more than 100 years in Hong Kong. Interestingly, archives of the labour room of the hospital were kept since 1935 and these records from 1935 to 1991 had been transferred to the TWGHs Records and Heritage Office for permanent custody and research in 2017. A good number of learning points are identified when compared to modern day obstetrics. This would contribute to the research on the history of obstetrics service in Hong Kong.
Plague and SARS — Two Defining Public Health Events in the History of Hong Kong
Date: 2019/8/25 (Sunday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Venue: Tiu Keng Leng Public Library (Extension Activities Room)
Description: The plague epidemic in 1894 was a major event in the history of public health of Hong Kong. For the first time in human history, the germ responsible for the Black Death was discovered in Hong Kong. More than a century later Hong Kong was to face SARS in 2003 and again Hong Kong rose to the challenge and found the virus causing SARS. Apart from scientific discoveries, both events served as a wake-up call for the government and the community on the importance of protecting the health of the people. So, what lessons have we learned from these deadly diseases? How did the plagues affect the TWGHs as a major provider of medical services in Hong Kong?
Reflections on the Development of Modern Chinese and Western Medicine through Tung Wah Archives
Date: 2019/8/10 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Hong Kong Central Library (Lecture Theatre)
Description: Tung Wah Hospital has preserved its historical documents since its establishment in 1870. These valuable materials are indispensable for understanding modern Hong Kong's social evolution, as well as its medical history. With the use of Tung Wah archives, this lecture offers new perspectives on the study of modern medical history by addressing the following topics: How was Western medicine introduced into the Chinese hospital? What were the controversies over the preservation or abolishment of Chinese medicine? How effective were Chinese and Western medical treatments?
Preservation and Conservation of the TWGHs Archives
Date: 2019/7/20 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Venue: Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Public Library (Extension Activities Room)
Description: The TWGHs is Hong Kong's longest standing charitable organisation with an extensive collection of historical records that bear testimony to the history of Hong Kong. Meticulous planning and ample resources are required to preserve and conserve the archives, while restoration efforts are also crucial. In this talk, Ms. SEE Sau Ying, Stella, Head of the Records and Heritage Office of the TWGHs, will introduce Tung Wah's efforts in preserving and conserving the archives, as well as the challenges faced by Tung Wah. Meanwhile, TWGHs Conservation Specialist, Mr. LAI Chun Ying, will share the ups and downs he has experienced while restoring the archives of Tung Wah.
A Pioneer in Global Medical Charity: The Tung Wah Hospital
Date: 2019/7/13 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Hong Kong Central Library (Lecture Theatre)
Description: The Tung Wah Hospital as a new institution in Hong Kong in the 1870s was a hybrid between the traditional Chinese charity hall and the Western hospital. Being a key player in the management of global public health at the turn of the century, it had an exceptional role in the construction of new knowledge in both traditional Chinese medicine and biomedicine of the time. The special political setting of the Canton/Hong Kong nexus, the epidemiological environment of the region, and global human migrations through Hong Kong all shaped the Tung Wah model as a unique and pioneering medical charity of the time.