Select Page

We are delighted to welcome Mr. James Han Boon KONG for an insightful fireside chat conversation on his recent medical mission experience with Global Clinic in Butare, Rwanda. As an esteemed British surgeon with over 40 years of experience, Mr. KONG volunteered his skills and expertise with the Singapore-based non-profit Global Clinic. He was part of their medical team that traveled to the underserved community of Butare to provide vital healthcare services.

Global Clinic is a renowned non-profit organization that has been making a difference in global healthcare since 1997. Comprising medical and non-medical volunteers, their mission is to direct skills, expertise and time towards serving communities that lack access to adequate medical care due to poverty or poor infrastructure. With a vision firmly rooted in sustainability, Global Clinic ensures that any medical services provided are complemented by long-term programs to improve the overall health and healthcare access for residents in their partner communities worldwide. Their efforts have reached over 35,000 individuals across 11 countries in Asia and Africa.

Rwanda, a small landlocked nation in East Africa, has made impressive socio-economic strides since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. However, challenges persist in providing equitable healthcare access, especially in rural areas where over 83% of the population resides. Despite economic growth, around 38% of Rwandans still live below the poverty line. With only 0.7 physicians and 1 hospital bed per 1,000 people, the shortage of medical personnel and infrastructure is acute in many regions.

The city of Butare, also known as Huye, was the focus for Global Clinic’s latest mission that Mr. KONG participated in. Situated in southern Rwanda, Butare has a population of around 89,000 and is home to the University of Rwanda’s main campus. While it hosts several hospitals like the University Teaching Hospital of Butare (CHUB), the surrounding rural areas critically lack access to quality healthcare facilities and staff, making it an ideal location for the mission.

By sending volunteer teams to promising areas, Global Clinic aims to provide free healthcare services while improving long-term access. Their approach involves setting up temporary clinics, training local staff, organizing health education camps, and providing infrastructural support like renovating facilities and donating equipment. Since 2008, they have conducted over 15 missions in Rwanda in partnership with Butare University Teaching Hospital.

Their efforts have performed over 2,500 surgical procedures, trained hundreds of local personnel, benefited thousands through screening camps, and supported infrastructure development. In Butare, specialties provided included general surgery, gynecology, orthopedics and dental care.

In this engaging fireside chat, Mr. KONG will share his first-hand experiences being part of Global Clinic’s surgical team. He will provide insights into the preparation, logistics, challenges faced in resource-poor settings, skills transfer impact, heartwarming patient stories, and key lessons from this enriching volunteering experience.


africa healthcare network

Dr. James Han Boon KONG

James has 35+ years’ experience in healthcare delivery in the public & private sectors in both high and low middle income environments. He recently completed a stint as clinician in charge, supervising one of the SAR’s Community Vaccination Centres with the vaccination team for HKUMed. In addition, he continues to provide clinical care in HK for patients in breast, head & neck surgery. He is a pioneer in the use of computers in healthcare, leading the establishment of the 1st hospital information system in a public (Nethersole) hospital in Hong Kong (1990). He further collaborated with information technology specialists to develop a comprehensive home grown Clinical Management System (1995-2003) that is utilised in all the HK (HA) public hospitals services now. During the SARS 2003 crisis, he led the development of a bespoke information management system (eSARS) to assist the comprehensive epidemic management. This program was awarded 1st Prize in the Health Section of the Stockholm IT Challenge 2004. As the first Health Informatics Chief for the Hospital Authority, he laid the ground work for the electronic health record sharing system – eHRSS currently established and utilised throughout the whole of the territory. He taught Health Informatics on the Masters in Public Health (MPH) program at the School of Public Health, HKU and consults on strategy and implementation of health information systems.

Born in Burma, he was educated at the Methodist English High School (Rangoon) and King George V School (Hong Kong). He graduated MBBS from the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School – BARTS– University of London. He received his Fellowship in Surgery from Edinburgh FRCSE and Australiasia FRACS. He returned as a faculty in 1987 to HK and completed a career in the public sector until after SARS 2003 During his public career, he has extensive experience beyond clinical care especially in the delivery of quality improvement programs and in healthcare leadership. He helped in developing the concept of ‘mega-systems’ to provide fast-track, high-output quality care delivery in the public sector.

After early retirement from the public sector healthcare, in 2006, he returned to his birthplace, Myanmar. He was the commissioning Chief Hospital Administrator at Pun Hlaing International Hospital where he managed the startup of one of the first 21st century hospital in Yangon. After Cyclone Nargis – 2008…arrived in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta, he volunteered with the cyclone relief and capacity building. Since 2010, he serves as the Global Health Director (Myanmar) for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons – RACS. He initiated and directed the development of Emergency Medicine in Myanmar (2012) in collaboration with the Rector and an international team and local Myanmar medical leaders. Until the recent coup in Myanmar – February 2021, he volunteers and directs –capacity building projects– teaching skills training courses and conducts ‘train the trainers’ programs for Myanmar clinicians in collaboration initially with the Myanmar Medical Association, latterly the University of Medicine I, II -Yangon, Mandalay and the Ministry of Health. He continues to assist Myanmar in the midst of the current ongoing crisis there. As he is based in HK, he also helps establish various private care delivery services and units. He led his colleagues in Asia Medical Specialists to be the 1st ambulatory centre regionally to receive the Joint Commission International – JCI® accreditation. Since 2012, he is also an Honorary Professor of Surgery for the University of Medicine, Yangon. In 2015, he took time off to Harvard Business School’s Managing Healthcare Delivery Program 2015-16 and is now alumni. James has an avid interest in the design of healthcare delivery and delivery service units and has consulted for various international groups.

Moderated by:

Julia Charlton

Chairman, Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce HK

Julia is the founding and managing partner of Charltons, an award winning Hong Kong corporate finance Hong Kong law firm. Julia is admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong, England and Wales and the BVI. She practises in the field of corporate finance, including M&A, private equity, securities, virtual assets and funds.

Julia is a member of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC)’s Global Advisory Council. She is also a member of several Hong Kong boards and committees, most notably The Takeovers and Mergers Panel and the Takeovers Appeals Committee of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission and the Listing Review Committee of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Julia is also a Senior Fellow of the Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute.