Dr Yvonne Ho AM
AAGM MBBS (University of Melbourne) FRANZCR FAANMS GAICD

Affiliation: Board Director, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
Medical Specialities: Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, Functional & Hybrid Imaging (incl PET-CT)
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Article By
Dr Yvonne Ho AM

Dr Wu Lien-Teh is Yvonne Ho's second great uncle.


I have known about Dr Wu Lien-Teh my entire life. My mother was a avid storyteller who ensured that we, her children, knew our family history and our family tree well. In this family tree, with Dr Wu as our first Western-trained physician, every subsequent generation has produced further medical doctors. I am honoured to be its fourth generation physician.

Despite extraordinary hardship, including lack of drug treatment, Dr Wu successfully stopped 1910-1911 Manchurian plague via public health measures. After all, the first antibiotic, penicillin, was only discovered in 1928.

Nearly 20 years ago, I served as the Head of Nuclear Medicine at a tertiary hospital in Singapore, at the crossroads of Asia, during the SARS outbreak. During that epidemic, there was a science- and medicine-led, nationwide coordinated response with Singapore's Ministry of Health at its helm, with a satisfactory mask supply throughout the pandemic and adequate protective attirement of all staff members prior to access to any patient care area. There was also the concept of staff teams to prevent cross-infection, as well as dedicated transportation paths of suspected patients between the imaging department and the rest of the hospital.

Wide dissemination and logical science-based explanations were given to staff when policies were changed from time to time as the Ministry's perception of risk changed. In addition, the Singapore government educated its nation in public health and called upon their community spirit to help others. Via public health education, momentum could be gathered to support the whole country's fight against the pandemic.

That was Singapore. As Covid-19 loomed at home in Australia 109 years after the Manchurian plague, the pandemic landscape looks different: a lack of masks, the hovering of politics over a medical pandemic but, despite decreased centralised coordinated effort, individuals are contributing time and effort to help.

Inspired by Dr Wu, I knew that I too could contribute medically, no matter how small this may be, no matter what the political rhetoric was. Earlier this spring, I created a country-wide registry of all ventilators in our veterinary sector to facilitate their seamless loan to hospital intensive care units, as backup equipment during a potential surge. I also facilitated donations of personal protective equipment by the Tzu Chi Foundation to residential aged care facilities throughout Melbourne.

COVID-19 is a medical condition about which our understanding remains incomplete. Physicians, including those during Dr. Wu’s time, are accustomed to learning from one another and building our shared knowledge. The wise would advocate for even greater medical collaboration amongst our international fraternity, as well as unbiased factual communication, away from politics, to enable the survival of our human race.


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  • Dr Yvonne Ho AM
  • AAGM MBBS (University of Melbourne) FRANZCR FAANMS GAICD

    Speaker | Board Director | Educator | Musician | Radiologist | Nuclear Medicine Specialist
    2015 Member of the Order of Australia
    2014 Winner of the Australia Awards
    2013 Inductee of the Victorian Honour Roll of Women
    Australia Day Ambassador for the Victorian Government
    Victorian Honour Roll of Women Ambassador
    Director of Cambridge Healthcare
    Director of Charteris Music School


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