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Inaugural Asia Summit on Global Health opens today
70+ business leaders and medical experts gather to examine healthcare landscape, 11/24/2021 - Co-organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the inaugural Asia Summit on Global Health (ASGH) opened today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in a hybrid format, offering both online and in-person participation. Themed "Shaping a Resilient and Sustainable Future", the summit runs round the clock across different time zones. More than 70 speakers, including senior government health officials from around the world, representatives of international organisations, medical research experts as well as investors and business leaders, shared their insights from the perspectives of healthcare, finance and technology, and examined the latest technological developments and investment opportunities in the healthcare sector.

Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Dr Peter K N Lam, Chairman of the HKTDC, and Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization (WHO), spoke at the summit's opening ceremony. In his welcome remarks, Dr Lam said: "Since early 2020, the world has been fighting not only one of the biggest health crises in decades, but also economic and social challenges resulting from the pandemic. Thankfully, we have seen the power of innovation and collaboration, as the world came together to develop vaccines at an unprecedented speed. As Asia emerges as an increasingly important player in the global health landscape, Hong Kong, with its three key advantages, namely its status as an international financial hub, the world's best universities devoted to research and development, and its importance in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), has also been recognised as the ideal platform for research and business development in the global healthcare industry. It is against this exciting backdrop that the Asia Summit on Global Health was conceived, with the aim to provide a one-stop international platform for exchange and collaboration between the healthcare, investment, business and technology sectors."

Addressing ASGH participants at the opening session, Dr Swaminathan said: "We have many things that we can learn from this pandemic, and the lessons should be applied not only to preventing future pandemics, but also to making sure that our health systems are strengthened, and I think that is what this particular conference is going to address. There are some very key learnings. The first is that health systems need to be agile and resilient. They need to have an adequate and well-trained health workforce. The second big lesson has been that communities are important and that in many countries that have focused on strengthening primary healthcare systems, in places where the health workers and the community have a good trusting relationship, that's where actually the response to the pandemic has worked well. Obviously, medicines, medical products and technologies, and digital tools have played a big role. Going forward, we need to see how a holistic plan for the country is developed and how best these digital technologies can help to supplement and complement the services that are being delivered in order to accelerate the sustainable development goal targets."

Shaping a resilient healthcare system in the new normal

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing public healthcare challenges and collaboration across the health ecosystem has once again come under scrutiny.

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