HKUST Students Receive Donation to Solve Healthcare Problems in Indonesia and Cambodia

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) received a donation from Equal Opportunities Foundation for the establishment of Student Innovation for Global Health Technology (SIGHT) Scholar Scheme, which enables undergraduates to work on their self-proposed healthcare projects in full time internship locally or overseas.  Two teams consisted of six students were awarded this year.

Under the co-supervision of Prof Ying Chau and Prof Pedro Sander, one of the teams is initiating a diabetic retinopathy screening program for Indonesia who has 10 millions of diabetes population according to International Diabetes Federation.  As advised by WHO, around one-third of the world’s diabetes population may suffer from diabetic retinopathy, a portion of which will lead to blindness if not treated properly and timely.  This cloud-based software program aims to detect diabetic eye diseases from retinal images collected by a portable device.  Another SIGHT hardware team is collaborating with the device manufacturer to enhance its functions and performance especially under low-resource settings.  The portable device costs only a fraction of the conventional camera used in the hospital, and when coupled with the program, it is possible for layman to make decision about referral in primary clinics.  This approach is therefore a more effective means to combat the epidemic and reduce health care burden.

Another awarding team has planned to further deploy a mobile application building on the foundation of the laptop-based electronic medical record system which an earlier SIGHT team built in 2015.  The app, that is easier to be carried around the slums in Cambodia, enables medical staffs to input and access information using their mobile phones, and keep medical records in a systematic, paperless, and retrievable database.  The continuous health record of patients empowers doctors serving the most underprivileged community to make informed decisions and therefore improve the health care quality.

Mr Marcus Lee, founder of Equal Opportunities Foundation, presented the SIGHT Scholar Awards to the six awardees at the ceremony today.  Mr Lee said,’ I look forward to witnessing more student innovation especially at undergraduate level through this new SIGHT Scholar scheme.  I also hope this donation will help HKUST sustain as ‘a powerhouse for innovation and entrepreneurship’ in its latest 5-year strategic plan.  Our Foundation is prepared to provide a matching donation in the future so as to encourage more to support this meaningful initiative.’

Prof Chau from Division of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, founder of SIGHT program, expressed her wholehearted gratitude to Mr Lee’s support, ‘The generous donation from Mr Lee allows SIGHT platform to be expanded with the new internship element, which enables students to acquire in-depth experiential learning experience while contributing to the society.

SIGHT is an interdisciplinary platform aims to turn students’ innovative ideas into reality to solve healthcare problems around the globe.  The SIGHT Scholar Scheme is a new initiative for the SIGHT platform which currently includes a semester-long boot camp on design thinking for global health, a credit bearing project course and study or implementation trips.

About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) ( is a world-class research university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. HKUST attained the highest proportion of internationally excellent research work in the Research Assessment Exercise 2014 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee, and is the world’s second in the latest QS’ Top 50 under 50 ranking. Its graduates were ranked 13th worldwide and top in Greater China in Global Employability University Survey 2016.

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(Front row seated from right to left) Mr Marcus Lee, founder of Equal Opportunities Foundation, Prof Ying Chau, Ms Yasmin Fong, representative of Equal Opportunities Foundation, and the 6 SIGHT scholars.
The student is testing the use of a portable fundus camera for diabetic retinopathy screening in a clinic in Indonesia.
The student is demonstrating to the clinical staff in Cambodia how to use the mobile application of the electronic medical record system.

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