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HCPF Thematic Priorities 2013

Priority for funding is given to applications targeting underprivileged groups who are vulnerable to ill-health, and health promotion programmes carried out in primary care settings. To sustain the effects of health promotion interventions, multidisciplinary approaches and cross-sectoral collaborations engaging the community to create supportive environments and to empower individuals to take ownership of their health are keys to success. Higher funding priorities will be accorded to the following thematic areas:

I. Tobacco control

While smoking is well known to cause many fatal diseases and cancers, continuous effort is required to put "what we know" into "what we do". Measures to prevent and reduce tobacco exposure include:

  • Motivating smokers, in particular adult males, to cease smoking and empowering them to forego cigarettes during the times of day when they face their toughest smoking triggers and peers; and
  • Exhorting youth, women or high-stress career workers to abstain from tobacco use and connecting them with proven evidence of its damage to health.

II. Lifestyle, nutrition and physical activity

Adopting a healthy lifestyle, healthy diet and regular physical exercise are fundamental for preventing many chronic diseases. Community involvement to complement government initiatives in fostering active living, healthy eating, tackling overweight and promoting a healthy workplace will benefit specific groups by:

  • Encouraging optimal young child feeding practices such as increasing consumption of fruits & vegetables and reducing intake of sugar-sweetened snacks & beverages;
  • Enhancing the availability of affordable healthy food and beverages to families and decision makers of schools;
  • Empowering the younger generation to adopt healthy lifestyle practices such as avoiding unhealthy habits, high-risk sexual activities, alcohol and drug misuse, and maintaining balanced diet and healthy body mass index;
  • Increasing the public's awareness and knowledge of balanced diet by taking the food pyramid as reference and to reduce salt consumpltion in their diet;
  • Motivating employers to create a safe and healthy working environment that supports the working population, who are in general at risk of lifestyle-related diseases. Actions include modification of the physical environment, enhancement of organisational policies and provision of personal health skills to the workforce;and
  • Increasing physical activity participation and reducing sedentary lifestyle in the general population.

III. Mental well-being

Mental health problems are one of the major health concerns in urban life. Physical and mental well-being are linked in bi-directional manner. Strategic actions are required to maintain and enhance mental well-being by:

  • Strengthening community capacity to promote positive mental well-being. Youth, families, schools, and communities benefit when working in partnership to address the emotional and behavioural needs of the younger generation;
  • Raising public awareness and understanding of mental well-being;
  • Developing specific individual skills, through setting approach and life-course approach to build up individual's mental capital and resilience e.g. relaxation and stress management, maintain work-life balance; and
  • Increasing awareness and reducing stigma against people with and recovering from poor mental health and their family carers.

IV. Injury prevention

Injury causes significant mortality and morbidity in the community. Emphasis is place on injury prevention which covers domestic injury, sports injury, falls, traffic accidents and unintentional injuries in children by:

  • Encouraging community stakeholders to take the lead in coordinating actions to prevent or reduce injuries;
  • Identifying environmental and behavioural risk factors of vulnerable populations; and
  • Facilitating effective communication of injury data, development and implementation of prevention programmes that involve more extensive collaboration amongst public and private sectors, academics, professional groups and non-governmental organizations.

V. Reducing alcohol-related problems

Alcohol consumption is a risk factor for many health and societal problems. Special attention is paid to the increasing trend of underage drinking and alcohol-related harms. Effective measures are through:

  • Increasing awareness and knowledge of immediate and long-term harmful effects of alcohol consumption such as traffic accidents, violence and injury, as well as diseases associated with alcoholism such as liver cirrhosis and cancer;
  • Conveying the health risk of alcohol consumption to the population especially the young adults to assist them in making informed decision about alcohol use;
  • Preventing binge drinking, in particular among young adults;
  • Equipping the young generation with the knowledge and coping skills to resist peer pressure to drink; and
  • Empowering parents to communicate with their children on alcohol-related issues.

VI. Promoting family doctor model of care

The family doctor model of care, which emphasises continuity of care, holistic care and preventive care, is essential to primary care initiatives for better health. Awareness and understanding of this model needs to be further promoted in the community so that patients will be more receptive to the care of their family doctor and reduce doctor-shopping behaviour. The required activities include:

  • Promoting the benefits of having a family doctor as the first point of contact in the healthcare system for continuous, comprehensive, coordinated and person-centred care; and
  • Empowering the public to improve their own health and that of their family members by establishing a long term partnership with their family doctors and adopting a preventive approach in improving health.

VII. Empowering the community in the management of chronic diseases

Chronic diseases are common in the community and rise in prevalence as the local population ages. According to the two reference frameworks for diabetes mellitus and hypertension care developed by the Task Force on Conceptual Model and Preventive Protocols, of Health and Medical Development Advisory Committee, the community should be empowered so that patients and their carers are made aware of their own roles in disease prevention and management. The required activities include:

  • Equipping patients with diabetes mellitus and hypertension with the necessary knowledge and skills to properly manage these two chronic diseases and prevent complications; and
  • Promoting to the general public the benefits and importance of supporting their family members, neighbours and friends with diabetes mellitus and hypertensive in managing their health conditions.

VIII. Prevention of respiratory infectious diseases

Influenza and other respiratory infections are transmitted from person to person by droplet or contact of respiratory secretion. Everybody has a role to play in the control of infectious diseases by practicing good personal hygiene and household environmental hygiene. The required activities include:

  • Enhancing the general public’s vigilance on personal hygiene e.g. proper hand washing and use of mask when having respiratory symptoms; and
  • Promoting clean and hygienic household environment.

Applications which fall outside these priorities will still be considered, although they will have a lower funding preference. The closing date of applications is 31 July 2013.