On the Pandemic Frontline in Hong Kong

Currently on the frontline of his country’s response to COVID-19, Dr Kwan Leung Chia (MD ’16) is a member of the Home Quarantine Taskforce at the Centre for Health Protection in Hong Kong’s Department of Health, where he is a Specialist Trainee in Public Health Medicine.

‘The Home Quarantine Taskforce ensures that people under home quarantine orders are medically well, compliant with the requirements, and able to access round-the-clock medical attention via a telemedicine service which informs clinical decision-making,’ says Kwan.

‘Apart from rostered clinical service, I have also assisted to refine the operational system of the Home Quarantine Taskforce to make it more efficient, including the referral and collaboration system with public hospitals, immigration, port health, police, social welfare departments, the quarantine centre and camps.’

Kwan is also an Adjunct Associate Lecturer at Flinders University and an Honorary Clinical Tutor at the University of Hong Kong.

He came to Flinders in 2013 under the Flinders Graduate-entry Medical Program, after graduating with a Bachelor of Chinese Medicine from The University of Hong Kong.

‘A friend was studying medicine at Flinders when I began researching universities to apply to, and he highly recommended it, often reiterating the program’s strength in early clinical exposure so that graduates would be more competent, confident and genuinely ready for the workplace.’

Kwan has many fond memories of his time at Flinders.

‘My rural placement experience in third year enhanced my understanding of health inequity and inequalities, thus stimulating my interests in public health medicine. In my fourth year I was elected as a member of the University Council, which offered me great insights of how Flinders is led, managed, and contributed by a team of dedicated volunteer experts from different professions.

Kwan says his greatest inspiration comes from his wife, Tung Ping Chan.

‘We had a long-distance relationship for five years before she quit her job in Hong Kong to move to Adelaide to accompany me during my studies. Now, she is the full-time mother of our Flinders Medical Centre-born baby boy. It’s very cool that he was born in the same place where I assisted in delivering a baby when I was a student.’

In 2019 he established an innovative public health initiative and a registered charity called Chinese Medicine South Australia Incorporated to promote integrative medicine which he hopes to develop in the future. Kwan’s dual practitioner status as a Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Registered Medical Practitioner provide an interesting combination rarely seen in the professions.

‘The long-term goal is to reduce health inequalities by improving the health of rural and remote South Australians through self-management to reduce the need for health services, which are often sacred in rural areas.

‘I hope that my international frontline public health experience will be beneficial to Australia’s health system – I intend to bring the specialist knowledge, skills and experience back to Australia after I have obtained my medical specialist qualification in Hong Kong.’

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