Written by: Prof Enoch Lai, Chair, China Special Interest Group (SIG)
Edited by: Joyce Chee, APHN Executive
In the Asia-Pacific region, the Mandarin speaking population forms a significant percentage of the total population. Geographically, they are found in most of this region, and comprises of various ethnic groups and nationalities. Views on life and death are closely linked to the culture, background, customs and traditions of the individual. This in turn reflects on how palliative care is provided. Speaking the same language and having similar cultures, the Mandarin speaking population have a unique point of view when it comes to end-of-life issues.
The largest proportion of the Mandarin speaking population is located in China. In recent years, palliative care services are sprouting and developing at an unprecedented speed in China. The next step ahead will be to connect to the international palliative care community, work towards setting up a common standard and accreditation system and also to encourage mutual exchange. As the palliative care landscape continues to evolve in China, they can also be connected with other Mandarin speaking communities in the region, have access to resources and best practices around the world that is unique to the Chinese. These experienced professionals from other Mandarin speaking communities in Asia Pacific can provide palliative knowledge and skill to palliative professionals who are situated across all provinces in China to ensure that pain-free, dignified and quality end of life care is accessible to all Chinese.
One of the goals of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) is to assist countries in the Asian-Pacific region in building capacity, improving service quality and increasing accessibility. Driven by this common purpose, Prof Cynthia Goh, Chair of APHN, Prof Enoch Lai, Chair of APHN China SIG and Prof Amy Chow, convened a mandarin speaking pre-conference under the Conference – “Innovation and Impact: The Review and Vision of Community End-of-Life Care” hosted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong on 16 June 2018. Palliative professionals and experts were invited to exchange ideas and to explore the future development and international cooperation of palliative care in the region.
The meeting was attended by 20 palliative care professionals from Mandarin speaking regions. Action plans are currently in progress and updates will be provided at the next meeting during the Mandarin pre-conference workshop in APHC 2019 in Indonesia. We are all very excited to be in this journey and look forward to meeting again.
Lastly, we will like to thank to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and Prof Amy Chow for making this meeting possible by providing the venue and logistics support.