About Hong Kong

Hong Kong's comprehensive range of health services coupled with improvements in the standard of living have fostered a good general level of health that is among the best in the world.

The main health indices, such as infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate and overall life expectancy, are similar now to those of most developed countries in the West. A child born in Hong Kong is immunized against Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Poliomyelitis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Major infectious diseases like Malaria, Typhoid, and Cholera have virtually been eliminated from Hong Kong; precautions against these are not generally needed.

Vaccinations

Before arriving in Hong Kong, make sure that your family's vaccinations are current. Many companies require this of their employees anyway, but it is an opportunity to review what immunizations may need to be updated.

Some pediatricians recommend that children should follow their home country's immunization schedule while in Hong Kong in order to comply with school health requirements upon returning.

We recommend you consult your doctor for advice on vaccinations for you and your family. We have highlighted a few vaccination resources and recommendations below, but please seek professional advice from your local health care provider.

BCG/Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a common disease in Asian countries. Babies born in Hong Kong are vaccinated at birth. Most countries in Europe do not vaccinate children until they are in their teens, and America does not routinely vaccinate their population. However, the risk of contracting TB ismuch higher here, and vaccination on arrival is recommended. It can be contracted from people coughing or spitting near you. TB can cause chest infection, meningitis and may affect other parts of the body. The disease requires at least six months of treatment.

For babies receiving the vaccination, it is common to get a red spot at the site of the vaccination after four to six weeks. This may discharge and take several weeks to heal completely before eventually becoming a white scar. Contact your doctor if it does not look as though it is healing properly.

For adults and children, a skin test is performed on your forearm (Tine Test) prior to vaccination. If you do not react to the test with eruptions on the skin, you will require vaccination. If it has been a long time since your BCG vaccination, we would suggest testing your immunity by repeating the Tine Test. It may be required to undergo treatment for TB.

Make sure your helper is checked and vaccinated against TB.

Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus

(DPT) An initial immunization course is given before six months of age, and then boosters are required at five years, 15 years and every 10 years thereafter.

Hemophilus Influenza Group B

(HIB) This vaccination is given routinely to babies in three doses before six months of age. It protects against one of the forms of meningitis and epiglottis (a cause of serious breathing problems in older children). It is recommended that older children who missed the first schedule should also receive this vaccination up until six years of age.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is the most common cause of hepatitis in Hong Kong, accounting for about 80% of all cases. It is also a virus and usually causes an acute illness, from which it is common to take six to 12 weeks to recover. It is spread in a similar manner to typhoid and cholera, by contaminated water, food particularly shellfish) and poor hygiene. Some people have asymptomatic infections and they are at particular risk for transmitting it to other people. Symptoms commonly include fever, fatigue, diarrhea, headache, loss of appetite, jaundice and vomiting. About a quarter of patients need hospitalization. The illness is much less severe in children. Gamma globulin used to be given to those traveling to high-risk areas, but a vaccine has recently become available and is now the preferred method of immunization. A course of three vaccinations is required, with one month between the first two, and a booster six to 12 months later. It can be given at the same time as the hepatitis B vaccination. Further boosters are required after 10 years. We would highly recommend that your family receive hepatitis A along with Hepatitis B vaccines as soon as possible after arriving in Hong Kong.

Other precautions include good hygiene and cooking shellfish well, especially bivalves like clams, mussels and scallops.

Hepatitis B

Hong Kong has a relatively high incidence of hepatitis B and about 10% of the population are carriers of the infection. It is caused by a virus that is spread through bodily fluids, such as, blood, semen and saliva, and can cause liver failure and an increased incidence of liver cancer. Hospitalization can last several months. All pregnant women should be tested for hepatitis B. Babies born to infected mothers require a special treatment at delivery to prevent their offspring from becoming infected. In Hong Kong, children receive routine vaccinations at birth, one month and six months of age, although the vaccine can be given at any age. Unfortunately, most of the adult population is not vaccinated. We would recommend that you and your entire family begin the course of three vaccinations as soon as possible after arriving. If you have been in Africa or other parts of Asia, you should undergo a blood test first to ensure that you have not already contracted the disease.

Japanese Encephalitis, Meningococcal Vaccines

These vaccines are necessary for travel to some areas in Asia. For more information, contact your doctor or an infectious disease expert.

Malaria

Different types of Malaria have been found in areas such as Hainan and Yunnan however transmission only occurs in areas below 1500 meters in a warm climate. There is no risk in popular areas, cities and tourist destinations such as Yangtze River tours, and there is no risk in Hong Kong or Macau.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (German Measles)

Administered as one dose at 12 months of age. Side effects may include a rash or temperature. Girls are given a rubella booster at 11-13 years of age. It is a wise idea for adults to get a vaccine shot against this before they come to Hong Kong.

In the spring of 1997 there was a small outbreak of rubella and many were kept out of work for up to three weeks.

Rabies

Immunization is only advisable in areas where rabies is endemic, particularly for individuals planning to travel to remote areas; to live, camp, hike or bike through a rural location where post exposure immunization might be difficult to obtain.

Typhoid

Typhoid is contracted from contaminated food and water. A vaccine is available (two doses about a month apart). Protection is also available as capsules, with four taken on alternate days for about a week. A booster is required every three years.

The vaccination/capsules are not usually needed in Hong Kong, but we recommend inoculation for travel to areas with poor water quality and poor hygiene.

Varicella (Chicken Pox)

The vaccine is available in Hong Kong and this can be administered from 13 months of age onwards. Adults need to check their immunity. Contracting this virus as an adult can lead to more serious complications than the childhood infection.

Children and Health

Hong Kong is a generally healthy place for children. Polio and diphtheria have been eliminated, and tuberculosis (TB) is very rare in children due to the universal BCG vaccinations given at birth. The following are common health concerns to be aware of:

Asthma. Asthmatic children may suffer more here due to the pollutants in the air, although sometimes the humidity makes breathing easier.
Some expatriates find air purifiers can help, remove rugs, down comforters and pillows from their rooms.

Parasites. The most common types of parasites in Hong Kong are threadworm and roundworms. Treatment includes drugs such as Vermox or Combantrin.

Respiratory Infections. Respiratory infections, coughs, colds, and middle ear infections are perhaps a little more common here than in other countries. This is partly due to the high humidity—which is an excellent breeding ground for germs—aggravated by the crowded environment, and the temperature extremes in going from the heat and humidity of the outside to the refrigerated chill of air-conditioned interiors.

Sunburn and Skin Problems. Beware of sunburn; always apply sunscreen, even on cloudy days, particularly for babies and toddlers.

Imported sun-protective swimwear and clothing is available. Warm, humid Hong Kong weather heals up eczema, but impetigo and prickly heat are more common. Often the use of simple antiseptic powders or creams will alleviate the problem.

Doctors, Clinics and Pharmacists

The quality of care in Hong Kong is excellent. There is a wide choice of highly trained local and expatriate physicians who practice Western medicine. Many have been trained in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

It is customary here for doctors to prescribe drugs from their own pharmacies. This is certainly convenient, and means you do not have to bother having the prescription filled at a pharmacy. However, by going to a chemist you will usually get the drugs cheaper than at your doctors office and it is easier to check expiry dates. If you do, be sure to purchase drugs from chemists of good repute, as there is some risk of being sold counterfeit products here in Hong Kong.

You will find that many prescription drugs used in your home country are available in Hong Kong

Asthma and Childrens Respiratory Specialists/Pediatricians

Dr. Alfred Tam
Room 818, 8/F, Central Building
1 Pedder Street, Central
Tel: 2526 6223
Emergencies Tel: 9737 8627

Dr. Stephen Hui
Unit 602-603 Fairmont House
No. 8 Cotton Tree Drive, Central
Tel: 2526 5556

Cardiologists

Some of Hong Kongs best cardiologists are affiliated with Adventist Hospital.

Dr. Carl Fung
City Health
Room 1527, Princes Building
10 Chater Road, Central
Tel: 2526 1144

Dr. Archie Lo
306 Central Building
1-3 Pedder Street, Central
Tel: 2827 4311

Dr. P. King
Suite 1508 Princes Building
10 Chater Road, Central
Tel: 2523 4150

Dentists and Dental Surgeons

Bayley & Jackson
Room 210, 2F, Jardine House
Connaught Place, Central
Tel: 2525 2239
Tel: After-hours 2526 1061

Dr. Jim Costello
19/F Coda Plaza
51 Garden Road, Central
Tel: 2877 9622

Dr. Sandra Hulac
Room 1506 World-Wide House
19 Des Voeux Road, Central
Tel: 2868 1775

Dr. David Roland & Associates
Room 703A, Manning House
48 Queens Road, Central
Tel: 2522 8151

Dr. James Woo & Associates
Room 908, Lane Crawford House
70 Queens Road, Central
Tel: 2869 6986

Dermatologists

Dr. Louis Hsih
Room 1102, Manning House
48 Queen’s Road, Central
Tel: 2810 7888

Dr. Ronald Leung
Room 610, 6/F, Tak Shing House
20 Des Voeux Road, Central
Tel: 2523 5995

Family Practice

Dr. Anne Spooner and Associates
2H South Bay Road, 1st Floor
Repulse Bay Road
Tel: 2592 9000

Drs. Foster & Stevenson
Medical Practice
13/F, Hing Wah Building
30 Queens Road Central
Tel: 2537 7281

Dr. Lucy Lord and Associates
3rd Floor, Baskerville House
Duddell Street, Central
Tel: 2824 0822

Owens, Trodd and Partners
Room 1501-1503, Shui On Center
6-8 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
Tel: 2824 9112
(Also in Central Tel: 2521 3181, Repulse Bay Tel: 2813 1978; and Clearwater Bay Tel: 2719 6366)

Gynecologists/ Obstetricians

Dr. Lucy Lord and Associates
3rd Floor, Baskerville House
Duddell Street, Central
Tel: 2824 0822

Dr. Robert Stevenson
Drs Foster, Stevenson Medical Practice
13/Floor Hing Wai Building
36 Queens Road, Central
Tel: 2537 7281

Hearing Issues

Phonak Hearing Centre
Room 702, Asia Standard Tower
59-65 Queen's Road, Central
Tel: 2525 0269
www.phonak.com
Clinics all over Hong Kong / Kowloon / Macau

Infertility Specialists

Dr. Christopher Haynes
Prince of Wales Hospital
30-32 Ngan Shing Street
Yuen Chai Kok, Shatin
Tel: 2632 2800

Dr. Milton Leong
318 Central Building
3 Pedder Street, Central
Tel: 2523 3007

Internal Medicine / Infectious Diseases

Dr. Gloria Kim Pei
City Health
Room 1527, Prince’s Building
10 Chater Road, Central
Tel: 2526 1144

Dr. John Simon
Central Medical Practice
Suite 1501, Prince’s Building
10 Chater Road, Central
Tel: 2521 2567

Ophthalmologists

Dr. Gary Kots
Central Eye Care
Room 1702, On Hong Commercial Building
145 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
Tel: 2866 2030

Ophthalmologist and Pediatric

Dr. Agnes Tse Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital Ltd.
2 Village Road, Happy Valley
Tel: 2572 0211
www.hksh.com

Orthodontists / Periodontist

Dr. Martine Boisson (orthodontist) and Dr. Rupert Gildenhuys (periodontist)
Health Asia Ltd
Room 1530 Prince’s Building
10 Chater Road, Central
Tel: 2522 1996

Physiotherapists and Chiropractors

Chiropractic Doctors Association of HK
www.cda.org.hk

Orthopedics

Dr. Julian Chang
Room 205, St George’s Building
2 Ice House Street, Central
Tel: 2521 6565

Opticians

Lenscrafters
Multiple locations
Tel: 2343 8223
www.lenscrafters.com.hk

Psychiatry

Dr. Desmond Fung
Room 17, 1/F, New Henry House
10 Ice House Street, Central
Tel: 2868 9393

Dr. Michael Tsang
The Practice
Unit A, 10/F, On Hing Building, Central
Tel: 2523 3491

Psychology / Psychotherapy

Hong Kong Psychological Svcs
7A Duke Wellington House
14-24 Wellington Street, Central
Tel: 2810 1993

Therapy Associates Limited
12/F, California Tower
30-32 D’Aguilar Street, Central
Tel: 2869 1962

Rheumatologist

Dr. K.H. Chan
Suite 304, New World Tower
18 Queen’s Road, Central
Tel: 2522

Air

Hong Kong air can be very polluted at times, some seasons are worse for air pollution than others. In summer, the sea breeze provides a clean air supply; however, in winter, the northeast wind carries dust from North China, and the air is not as clean. The elderly, children and those with respiratory problems should heed warnings that are issued when the Air Pollution Index is particularly high. Contact lens wearers are more susceptible to eye infections due to high levels of dust particles and auto emissions in the air.

Snakes and Snakebites

Most people can live in Hong Kong for years and never encounter a snake. Nonetheless, Hong Kong does have some poisonous snakes. Snakebites are uncommon—most occur after summer rains and at night. If you intend to do a lot of hiking on remote trails, or have a garden we would recommend that you contact the Hong Kong Conservation Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (2708 8885) for more information about poisonous snakes and precautions to take. In an emergency, go to the Queen Elizabeth (Kowloon side) or Queen Mary (Hong Kong side) Hospitals, as they keep anti-venom treatment on hand.

Water

The water in Hong Kong is safe to drink as it meets World Health Organization criteria. However, the major problem in older buildings is old water pipes that generate sediment and trap bacteria. The simplest solution is to purchase an inexpensive water purifier that can be attached to the faucet. Filters must be replaced on a regular basis. This is not necessary in newer buildings, although you might not like the taste of Hong Kong’s tap water.

Hong Kong water is also fluoridated, so your children will not be getting fluoride if they drink distilled bottled water. Also if you and your family drink only distilled water, you run the risk of flushing your system of important minerals, particularly after exercise or long exposure to the heat.

You may choose to use bottled water for drinking purposes and tap water for cooking. There are two bottled water companies that will deliver to your home. You must purchase the water cooler base, which is available from either supplier.

Watsons Distilled Water
Tel: 2660 6688
www.watsons-water.com

Bonaqua Mineral and Distilled Water
Tel: 2210 3311
www.bonaqua.com.hk

Some find that purchasing a water purifier that is fitted to a kitchen faucet is a good solution to the Hong Kong water dilemma. This is more economical solution than using a water supplier and the minerals and fluoride is retained in the water. Phillips filtration systems and Brita Canisters using replacement filters are popular choices and are available at Wing On, Fortress stores and some supermarkets.

Water—Beaches

The water is tested every two weeks and warnings are posted if bacteria levels are high. These are published in the daily papers. Swimming in polluted water with high bacteria levels can result in complaints of diarrhea; and gastrointestinal, skin or ear, nose and throat—and in some cases hepatitis A—infection.

Wet Markets

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables - Fresh fruit and vegetable stalls abound on the streets of Hong Kong. Wash all fruit and vegetables in bottled water and always peel when possible. For salad vegetables soak in a solution of bottled water and salt before rinsing in bottled water.

Meat and Fish - Wet markets sell fish and un-refrigerated meats, which can be questionable. Local meat and poultry is not always inspected so it is advisable to rinse them with boiled or bottled water. Meat purchased in expatriate grocery stores is usually a better purchase. Meat imported from Australia, New Zealand and he USA is also available from expatriate grocery stores.

The Hong Kong Government runs several large, well-equipped hospitals as well as outpatient clinics and 24-hour emergency departments. However, these public hospitals, while providing quality medical care, may not have private rooms available. Please note that if you dial 999 for an ambulance, you will be taken to the nearest public facility. If you wish to be taken to a private hospital, make your request to the ambulance driver.

The cost of the Government run hospitals will vary if you do not carry a Hong Kong Identity card. For private attendance you must specify that you want to be taken to a private facility.

Medical Insurance

Medical costs can be high in Hong Kong and are often required to be paid up front. It is best to clarify charges before they are incurred. Medical insurance is often included in an expatriate employment package. Private and public care is available. Public care costs are often significantly lower than private care.

The most popular hospitals used by expatriates are Adventist, Canossa and The Matilda.

Hong Kong Island Public Hospitals

Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital
12 Sandy Bay Road
Pokfulam
Tel: 2817 7111
Neonatal and Pediatric Services.

Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital
3 Lok Man Road
Chai Wan
Tel: 2595 6111
24-hour Accident and Emergency.

Queen Mary Hospital
102 Pokfulam Road
Pokfulam
Tel: 2855 3838
24 hour Accident and Emergency.

Ruttonjee Hospital
266 Queen’s Road East
Wanchai
Tel: 2291 2000
24-hour Accident and Emergency.

Grantham Hospital
125 Wong Chuk Hang Road
Aberdeen
Tel: 2518 2111

Tang Shiu Kin Hospital
282 Queen’s Road East
Wanchai
Tel: 2291 2000

Tsan Yuk Hospital
30 Hospital Road
Sai Ying Pun
Tel: 2589 2100
Women’s health including Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Tung Wah Hospital
12 Po Yan Street
Sheung Wan
Tel: 2589 8111

Tung Wah Eastern Hospital
19 Eastern Hospital Road
Causeway Bay
Tel: 2162 6888

Wong Chuk Hang Hospital
2 Wong Chuk Hang Path
Aberdeen
Tel: 2873 7222

Emergency Contacts

Emergency Police, Fire and Ambulance
Tel: 999

Police Crime Hotline
Tel: 2527 7177

St John Ambulance Free Ambulance Service
Hong Kong
Tel: 2576 6555

Kowloon
Tel: 2713 5555

New Territories
Tel: 2639 2555

Private Hospitals

Canossa Hospital
1 Old Peak Road
Mid Levels
Tel: 2522 2181
www.canossahospital.org.hk
24-hour Outpatient department.

Central Hospital
1B Lower Albert Road
Central
Tel: 2522 3141
www.hkch.org.hk

Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital
2 Village Road
Happy Valley
Tel: 2572 0211
www.hksh.com

Hong Kong Adventist Hospital
40 Stubbs Road
Wong Nai Chung Gap
Tel: 3651 8888
www.hkah.org.hk
24-hour Accident and Emergency.

Matilda War Memorial Hospital
41 Mt Kellett Road
The Peak
Tel: 2849 0111
www.matilda.org

St. Paul’s Hospital
2 Eastern Hospital Road
Causeway Bay
Tel: 2890 6008
www.stpaul.org.hk

Kowloon Public Hospitals

Buddhist Hospital
10 Heng Lam Street
Lok Fu Estate
Kowloon
Tel: 2339 6100

Caritas Medical Centre
111 Wing Hong Street
Sham Shui Po
Tel: 3408 7911
24-hour Accident and Emergency

Hong Kong Eye Hospital
147K Argyle Street
Kowloon
Tel: 2762 3007
Ophthalmic Services

Kowloon Hospital
147A Argyle Street
Kowloon
Tel: 3129 7111

Kwong Wah Hospital
25 Waterloo Road
Kowloon
Tel: 2332 2311

Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital
118 Shatin Pass Road
Wong Tai Sin
Tel: 2320 2121

Princess Margaret Hospital
2-10 Princess Margaret Hospital Road
Lai Chi Kok
Tel: 2990 1111
Accident and Emergency Services to Hong Kong International Airport

Queen Elizabeth Hospital
30 Gascoigne Road
Kowloon
Tel: 2958 8888
24-hour Accident and Emergency

Tseung Kwan O Hospital
2 Po Ning Lane, Hang Hau
Tseung Kwan O
Tel: 2208 0111
24-hour Accident and Emergency

United Christian Hospital
130 Hip Wo Street
Kwun Tong
24-hour Accident and Emergency

Private Hospitals

Baptist Hospital
222 Waterloo Road
Kowloon Tong
Tel: 2339 8888
www.hkbh.org.hk

St Theresa’s Hospital
327 Prince Edward Road
Kowloon
Tel: 2200 3434
www.sth.org.hk

New Territories Public Hospitals

Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital
11 Chuen On Road
Tai Po
Tel: 2689 2000

Castle Peak Hospital
15 Tsing Chung Koon Road
Tuen Mun
Tel: 2456 7111
Psychiatric Services.

Kwai Chung Hospital
3-15 Kwai Chung Hospital Road
Kwai Chung
Tel: 2990 3000
Psychiatric Services.

North District Hospital
9 Po Kin Road
Sheung Shui
Tel: 2683 8888

Prince of Wales Hospital
30 Ngan Shing Street
Shatin
Tel: 2632 2211
24-hour Accident and Emergency.

Shatin Hospital
33 A Kung Kok Street
Ma On Shan
Tel: 2636 7500

Tai Po Hospital
9 Chuen On Road
Tai Po
Tel: 2607 6333

Tuen Mun Hospital
Tsing Chung Koon Road
Tuen Mun
Tel: 2468 5111
24-hour Accident and Emergency.

Yan Chai Hospital
7-11 Yan Chai Street
Tsuen Wan
Tel: 2417 8383
24-hour Accident and Emergency.

Private Hospitals

Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital
199 Tsuen King Circuit
Tsuen Wan
Tel: 2276 7676
www.twah.org.hk

Families Anonymous
Tel: 8100 5584
www.afhk.org.hk
Families Anonymous is an international network of support groups for those who have known a feeling of desperation concerning the use of drugs or alcohol of a family member.

Adult Children Anonymous
Tel: 6078 2487
www.aca.org.hk
Adult Children Anonymous is a support group for people raised in the confusion of alcoholic or other dysfunctional families.

AIDS Concern
Tel: 2898 4422
www.aidsconcern.org.hk

Alcoholics Anonymous
Tel: 2522 5665
www.aa-hk.org
Group meetings for alcoholics in Hong Kong.

Amnesty International
Tel: 2300-1250
www.amnesty.org.hk
Hong Kong Section of the Amnesty International Group.

CancerLink Support & Resources Centre
Tel: 3667 3000
www.cancer-fund.org

The Samaritans
Tel: 2896 0000
www.samaritans.org.hk

Hong Kong Young Women's Christian Association
Tel: 2522 3101
www.ywca.org.hk

Community Drug Advisory Council
Tel: 2521 2880
www.cdac.org.hk

Weight Watchers Hong Kong
Tel: 2857 9603
www.weightwaatchers.com

Make A Wish Foundation
Tel: 2579 2402
www.makeawish.org.hk

La Leche League
Tel: 2947 7147
www.lllhk.org
Free breastfeeding information and support.

The Hong Kong Society for the Aged (SAGE)
Tel: 2511 2235
www.sage.org.hk

St. John's Cathedral Counseling Service
Tel: 2525 7207
www.stjohnscathedral.org.hk
A professional counseling centre supported by St. John's Cathedral, has over 25 years' experience helping people with emotional distress.

Safetalk
Tel: 2386-6256
Offers confidential support for women in Hong Kong.

Narcotics Anonymous
Tel: 9332 2679
www.nd.gov.hk