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Severe acute respiratory syndrome: a challenge for public health practice in Hong Kong
  1. A Lee1,
  2. A S M Abdullah2
  1. 1Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion, School of Public Health, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
  2. 2Department of Community Medicine, The University of Hong Kong
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor A Lee, Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion, The School of Public Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 4th Floor, School of Public Health, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong; 


Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is now a global challenge affecting more than 8000 patients in different continents. The dictum of public health practice especially for infectious disease is “prevention better than cure”. It is especially true for SARS as the treatment strategies remain diverse and experimental. Maintaining a healthy and hygienic environment can be one of the effective public health measures to combat infectious disease. The major challenge is that some of the most important public health measures are to be taken outside the health sector. The community also needs to be strengthened and equipped with the health skills to promote better health and hygiene. There is also the need to create a supportive environment conducive to health for long term sustainability. The WHO approach of promoting health through setting approach would be one possible solution to face the challenge. This paper will describe some of the public health initiatives in Hong Kong through “setting approach” and “community development model” in helping the society fight against SARS. With the emergence of SARS, this might be the time to globalise public health medicine as an important component of medical practice.

  • severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • community development
  • settings approach

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