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FAN Ning
Chairman, Health in Action, Hong Kong

Fan Ning is a surgeon and also public health expert. He was the President of Medecins Sans Frontieres Hong Kong from 2008 to 2013. As health inequity affects different people throughout life journey in HK, Dr Fan decided to set up Health In Action in 2011 to serve local working poor families, ethnic minorities and refugees. In 2014, he set up Forget Thee Not to provide holistic end-of-life service for public as primary health care project. By socio-medical collaboration model, he demonstrated how primary health care projects could be co-designed with social sectors and community stakeholders via innovative ideas and technology. Fan Ning is proactively engaging different disciplines to try to develop a social movement to work out Healthy City concept.

He is member of Hong Kong Council of Social Service Standing Committee on Policy Research and Advocacy, Specialized Committee on Elderly Services and Community Investment and Inclusion Fund. He is also Honorary Clinical Assistant Professor at Medical School CUHK, Mentor of the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care at CUHK, Research Associate of CUHK Institute of Health Equity and Elite Mentor of MBA program at CUHK.

Health in Action has played an active role in the recent pandemic, supplying masks and hygiene products to vulnerable groups, hosting health workshops and webinars, and supporting the sterilization of sub-divided units.

I believe that health issue is a social issue, and we need a social solution to treat, not only drugs, vaccines, or injections.

Insight from "Health Disparity and Public Space in High Density Environments"

Fan Ning defined Space as “Social Justice, Public Health, Active Living, Co-Design, Equity'' in Hong Kong’s context. Public space is an interesting concept in Hong Kong; while the city has over 60% of green space, the urban settlements are so dense and the average living space is very low - over 116,600 households live in subdivided units. Although Hong Kong ‘enjoys’ greatest longevity, quality of life is yet to be determined. Poor households spend significantly more on essential items (housing, food, education, healthcare, transportation, recreation and culture) and Hong Kong reaches a poverty rate of 15% despite its economic prosperity on the surface. The working poor, disabled, and ethnic minorities suffer from higher rates of BMI (overweight), hypertension, diabetes, and they are oddly unfamiliar with local and governmental health care resources. 


Fan Ning reminded us of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Article 12, which states that everyone has the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical & mental health. However, this responsibility should not be shouldered only by health workers, which is just one factor among the overlooked spectrum of social determinants of health. The concept of health equity is essential, in which social inclusion is an important notion, coupled with healthy access to space and a primary health care system that also takes care of social determinants of health in addition to plain symptoms curing. COVID-19 exposes the vulnerability of many such as street cleaners, security guards, delivery workers. Fan Ning hopes that Hong Kong can one day become a “healthy city”. This requires communal united effort: everyone can contribute and should understand and reach out to those who suffer most. 

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