The Centre for Health Protection is an agency under the Department of Health in Hong Kong responsible for disease prevention and control. CHP plays the same role and function as the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in the European Union (EU). Hong Kong was severely affected by the 2003 outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), with 299 people killed by the disease. The health system's performance in the face of the epidemic was scrutinised, and there were calls for an independent investigation. On 14 May 2003, Michael Mak, representative of the Health Services constituency, initiated a non-binding motion within the Legislative Council's health services panel calling for the setting-up of a select committee to investigate government officials and Hospital Authority executives. Mak commented that the SARS outbreak had uncovered "administrative and policy weaknesses", and stated, "I hope that when a similar outbreak happens in the future, we will not find ourselves in such a mess again." The motion passed unanimously, as all but one of the pro-government legislators had walked out, calling it a "witch-hunting exercise". More information...

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