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"Circle of Life : Evolution of Obstetrics and Midwifery" in Subject talks on Centred on People : Specialist Healthcare Services and Everyday Life

October 2023

Co-organised by TWGHs Records and Heritage Office and Hong Kong Public Libraries

Subject talks on "Centred on People : Specialist Healthcare Services and Everyday Life"

After the end of the Second World War, Hong Kong was in desperate need of reconstruction, and healthcare facilities became inadequate as the population surged. This prompted the government to provide subsidies to voluntary healthcare institutions in a bid to ensure the provision of healthcare services in Hong Kong. By the 1960s, society had become more stable. In response to public demand for healthcare services, the government began to lay down long-term healthcare policies set out to improve the healthcare system, expand basic healthcare services and develop specialist healthcare.

As a long-term partner of the government, the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals has developed diversified healthcare services in line with the government's public health policies since the 1960s. The initiatives included expansion or redevelopment works carried out in Tung Wah hospitals to increase service space and improve the quality of healthcare services. Meanwhile, the development of specialist services is also an important part of Tung Wah's healthcare policy. In this talk series, healthcare professionals will examine the development of specialist healthcare, such as Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics, and Medicine and Geriatrics, as well as its relationship with social development and people’s everyday lives. 

Second talk:"Circle of Life : Evolution of Obstetrics and Midwifery" 

The evolution of medical practices and technologies in Hong Kong sheds light on the development of the city’s obstetric services. In the “Age of Wenpo (Chinese midwives)” more than a century ago, women gave birth at home. Subsequently, western midwives were introduced and the government vigorously encouraged women to give birth in hospitals in an effort to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates. The demand for midwives surged as a result. After the Second World War, society gradually stabilised, and while the demand for obstetric services continued to grow, a baby boom put the obstetric services of public hospitals under unbearable strain. Indeed, the development of obstetrics was inextricably linked with society and people’s livelihood.

The obstetric services of Kwong Wah Hospital played a major role in the development of Obstetrics in Hong Kong. Countless babies have been born in the hospital since its establishment in 1911. In 2017, Kwong Wah Hospital transferred the records of its Labour Room from 1935 to 1991 to the TWGHs Records and Heritage Office for permanent preservation and research purposes. In this talk, the speaker will offer a detailed account of how obstetric and midwife services were linked to social development in Hong Kong. She will also share the insights she gained from examining the records of the Labour Room of Kwong Wah Hospital.


Speaker : Ms Alice SHAM (Former General Manager (Nursing) of Kwong Wah Hospital and Founding President of Hong Kong College of Midwives)

Date : 7 October 2023 ( Saturday )

Time : 2:30-4:30 pm

Venue : G/F, Lecture Theatre, Hong Kong Central Library (66 Causeway Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong)

* Commencement Date of Seat Reservation : 26 September 2023 ( Tuesday )

* The lecture will be conducted in Cantonese.

* Free admission. People who are interested can click here to the registration webpage or contact us ( Tel: 2770 0867 )during working hours ( 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays) for reservation.

* For details, please visit the website of Hong Kong Public Libraries.

* First come, first served. 

Obstetrics Ward of Kwong Wah Hospital in 1960s