Christianity and Hospital Services: A Case Study of the Baptists in Early Post-war Hong Kong

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This paper aims to discuss the role and contribution of private sector hospitals to Hong Kong medical system during the early postwar period (1945-1966) with a case study of Hong Kong Baptist Hospital.

The population of the Colony increased sharply in the early postwar era because of the large influx of refugees from the Chinese mainland escaping the regime of Communist Party. Many of them squatted on hillsides, building their huts with no electricity and clean water. The poor hygiene condition made them easier suffer from health problems. However, Hong Kong government was unwilling to make heavy investment to expand the public medical system to meet the needs. The government feared that a wrong signal might be delivered to attract more refugees to come or stay in the Colony. Before the 1967 Riots, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was the only new public hospital started its operation in the Colony. The medical services provided by charities including Christian denominations were welcomed by Hong Kong government as it could help solve the problem without increasing public expenditure.

The Baptists were a significant group in the provision of medical services to local residents and new immigrants. The Southern Baptist missionaries and local Baptist laymen commiserated the refugees when they saw the newcomers’ poor condition. The foundation of a Baptist hospital in Hong Kong became the agenda of Hong Kong Baptist Association since 1952. The building project was slow in progress because of a lack of resources. It was started as a clinic, built in 1956, to provide outpatient services to the poor, and gradually developed into a general hospital in 1963, with the government’s land grant and sponsorship from the Southern Baptist Convention. Although it was still under deficit in its early days the newborn hospital persisted in providing quality medical and outpatient services to the poor at a low price. It was effective to supplement the inadequate supply of public hospital and outpatient services in early postwar Hong Kong.


ConferenceInternational Conference on the History of Hong Kong: Interpreting History through Culture and Literature = 「香港史」國際學術研討會: 從文化及文學的角度詮釋香港歷史
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
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