AGM 2017

Dear MSFers,

It is with great pleasure that I invite you to join us on our MSF Hong Kong’s Annual General Meeting 2017 to be held on 25th and 26th of August. Time and tide waits for no one, and this year, I wish to announce on the passing of torch from Mr Rémi Carrier to our new Executive Director, Mr Thomas Lahousse. Apart from the business as usual programmes lined up this year, two pertinent topics which I hope would stimulate a lively debate and discussion have been planned for.

1. Panel Discussion: Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a silent and often neglected epidemic. The arrival of DAAs (direct acting antivirals) has shown beyond 90% of cure rate and thus prevents the development of cirrhosis and liver cancer. The impact on quality of life and cost saving over a lifetime is indeed remarkable. Yet, their exorbitant costs have discouraged most countries from adapting them into their national health programmes and list of essential medicines. Intellectual property, patents, ‘evergreening’, voluntary and compassionate licensing, are but the several challenges we face with DAAs access. MSF has Hepatitis C projects in a few countries namely India, Pakistan, Egypt and Cambodia. I wish to bring your attention to the Asia Pacific region this time around. I seek to enlighten you on the scourge of Hepatitis C in this region, what challenges we face, the experiences from Cambodia project that we could learn from, and how MSF, and our own MSFers in their own capacity back home with civil societies could do something about it.

2. Debate: Emerging technologies

One cannot deny on the importance of technology and innovation in our humanitarian work. It is an honour to share with you the several initiatives that have sprung up for use in the field. The leveraging on space technology and its applications, namely; satellite imaging, mapping, digital data collection, unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones), and communication; in disasters and epidemic management is a choice we can no longer afford not to adopt. Machine learning and artificial intelligence could help us further build on this capacity. The Asia Pacific is the world’s most disaster prone region, and with ongoing climate warming, we can anticipate more natural disasters, epidemics outbreak, and health impacts in the years to come. While it is of utmost importance for the countries in this region to have emergency preparedness, the gap in communication, real time monitoring and updates, assessment, speedy response and timely deployment of aid, could all be helped by advanced technology and its applications. Yet, MSF seems to be apprehensive and selective. Drones, in particular have been used by MSF in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, albeit in a low key manner. The misuse of drones in Mediterranean and Middle East by military has such a toxic image of association. Will MSF continue to shun it? Or we should use them selectively in certain areas and projects?

Well, we are looking forward to your gracious attendance and engagement in what we promised to be an exciting AGM this year. Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

Chiels Liu
MSFHK President

By: Wai Wai Lui