Taiwan can help
Because of the history of accepting foreign aid in the modernization of its public health system, Taiwan finds it essential to share its experience and advance global healthcare services to benefit people around the world.
Dr. Jui-yuan Hsueh, minister of Health and Welfare in Taiwan, recently wrote to the media in the Philippines and around the world pushing for Taiwan’s participation in the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
During a detente between Taipei and Beijing between 2009 and 2016, Taiwan was invited to the WHA as an observer. However, due to rising tensions between China and Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen was elected President in Taiwan, the country has not been invited to the WHA since 2017.
Dr. Hsueh said in his letter to the media that Taiwan urges the World Health Organization and all relevant stakeholders to support Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHA as an observer, as well as Taiwan’s full participation in WHO meetings, mechanisms and activities.
He wrote that “Now that the Covid-19 pandemic is abating and dialogue on strengthening health systems worldwide is accelerating, Taiwan should not be left out. Taiwan can help, and Taiwan’s inclusion would make the world healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable.”
Not only Dr. Hsueh, overseas Taiwanese communities in Ireland, Canada, the United States, Italy and the Philippines also hold events urging the international society to support Taiwan’s plea.
Taiwanese in San Francisco hired a pilot to fly a private jet showing a banner which says “Support Taiwan join WHA. Taiwan can help.” Those who live in Guam held a beach cleanup, which attracted more than 300 Taiwanese and locals to support this appeal. Taiwanese living in Vancouver joined the Vancouver Sun Run to drum up support for Taiwan’s participation in this year’s WHA.
The presidents of Taiwan Association Inc. of the Philippines and Taiwanese Compatriot Association in the Philippines wrote to Enrique A. Manalo, secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, saying that Taiwan hopes to engage with the global health security network and work with WHO to make global health architecture more resilient, thereby promoting health emergency prevention, preparedness and response.
It is noteworthy that the government and overseas Taiwanese have been fighting for the health right of Taiwanese people to be able to participate in the WHA every year since 2017 as the exclusion of Taiwan not only put 23 million Taiwanese at risk, but it also hinders the effort of the WHO to get sufficient information immediately if there is another outbreak of infections caused by another unknown pathogen in the region, like the severe acute respiratory syndrome pandemic in 2003 and the Covid pandemic.
Taiwan built its universal healthcare insurance system in 1995. Since then, the government has continued to provide disease prevention and healthcare services so that people of all ages can enjoy the right to health.
Nonetheless, it is little known that George Leslie Mackay, a Canadian missionary who went to Taiwan in 1872 and almost every Taiwanese knows him today, established the first Western-style hospital and first girls’ school in northern Taiwan, and Tsai Ah-hsin, Taiwan’s first female physician, was among the distinguished alumni of this girls’ school.
Because of the history of accepting foreign aid in the modernization of its public health system, Taiwan finds it essential to share its experience and to advance global healthcare services to benefit people around the world.
The cruel reality is that not only in the healthcare field, Taiwan is also not allowed to participate in other international organizations, such as the International Criminal Police Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
While the Philippine National Police has been practical and worked with Taiwan to solve multiple criminal cases both in the Philippines and Taiwan, including busting a transgender kidnapping group in Metro Manila in 2022, it is still vital for Taiwan to cooperate with other countries to combat cybercrime and other cross-border crimes now that the world has basically become a global village.
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