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Jockey Club donates HK$3 billion to strengthen epidemic preparedness, promote vaccine development and build the capacity of health professionals

In today’s Policy Address (25 October), the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region John Lee announced a series of initiatives to strengthen epidemic preparedness in Hong Kong and to enhance regional joint prevention and control.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club is pleased to announce that it has approved a donation of HK$3 billion to support the Health Bureau and the Centre for Health Protection in strengthening post-COVID epidemic preparedness, to establish a new Global Health Institute, and to support national capacity building in human resources for health.

This donation, which is one of the largest in the Club’s history, is testament to the Club’s longstanding commitment to the betterment of our society and in particular to building a healthier community for all. It also reflects the vital need to strengthen Hong Kong’s preparedness for future epidemics, with the best defence being to collaborate locally, nationally and internationally to combat infectious diseases that respect no boundaries. It was with this in mind that the Club donated HK$500 million to establish the Centre for Health Protection following the SARS epidemic of 2003, which was Hong Kong’s first agency dedicated solely to the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

The key components of the Club’s donation are:

Epidemic preparedness for health protection
The Club will support the Health Bureau and the Centre for Health Protection to strengthen system-wide preparedness for future outbreaks of infectious disease. Specifically it will support three initiatives: emerging disease surveillance and prevention, epidemic response capacity building, and emerging disease preparedness and research. These initiatives will also enhance regional co-operation in the Greater Bay Area (the “GBA”) for joint prevention and control.

Establishment of the Jockey Club Global Health Institute
Vaccines are the ultimate solution to epidemics. To this end, the Club has approved a donation to the University of Hong Kong to establish the global headquarters of the new Jockey Club Global Health Institute (“JCGHI”) in Hong Kong. In partnership with the University of Cambridge and the International Vaccine Institute (“IVI”), the JCGHI will bring the latest translational vaccine technology to Hong Kong and bolster local and regional vaccine industry development through advanced research and public-private partnerships, as well as translation of research into practice.

Enhanced capacity building for health professionals
A long-term capacity building programme will be developed to nurture human resources for health in both clinical care and public health leadership in the GBA and beyond. This five-year programme will strategically build the capacities of specialities that require more attention, and strengthen the human resources for health in preparation for future epidemics.

The Club’s support for these projects, like all of its charity donations, is made possible by its unique integrated business model through which racing and wagering generate employment, tax and charity support for the community.