Global health: Taiwan cares and matters

Global health: Taiwan cares and matters
Global health: Taiwan cares and matters
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 775 million people worldwide were infected, the precious lives of 7 million people were mercilessly taken and the global economy has also stagnated for years. It took us three years to sweep away the nightmare of COVID-19 from our lives, and over the course of these three years, we have come to understand that in this globally interconnected world where viruses know no borders, it is crucial for countries to work together to prevent and guard against potential outbreaks of global infectious diseases like COVID-19, ensuring the world is safeguarded from disruptions caused by viruses.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified “Disease , while also striving to enhance our response capabilities.

Taiwan, despite not being a WHO member, has actively complied with and supported global public health standards over the years, avoiding global epidemic vulnerabilities caused by Taiwan’s non-membership in the WHO. Taiwan has also actively provided necessary medical support and resources while sharing its experiences and expertise in achieving universal health coverage with the world, helping the international community realize health for all and achieve the goal of universal health coverage in line with WHO recommendations.

Commitment to global health, aid

The theme of this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA) is “My Health, My Right,” and this is always the agenda that Taiwan cares about. To help achieve the WHO goals, Taiwan has effectively integrated and allocated social welfare resources domestically to enhance primary and oral health care for all, implement mental health programs, and strengthen the social safety net, so we have put in place an agile and resilient health care system able to combat both communicable and non-communicable diseases. In addition, Taiwan has also helped internationally improve medical care in South Pacific island nations, provided psychological support to Ukrainian refugee women and children in Romania as well as aid workers; bolstered climate change adaptability in the Caribbean region; and provided timely post-disaster recovery or reconstruction assistance to help people get through disasters in the Philippines, Japan, Hawaii, Türkiye and Indonesia.

Last year, after the earthquakes happened in Türkiye on Feb. 6, which struck medical facilities and caused many casualties in southeastern provinces, experts started to study how to prevent post-disaster infectious disease outbreaks. To rebuild the basic medical service in the affected areas, following the policy and management of Turkish central and provincial health authorities, Taiwan has cooperated with Turkish nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) and the Association for Solidarity with Asylum -Seekers and Migrants (ASAM), and provided emergency health kits, mobile shower units, mobile laundry facilities, established psychological and health education counseling centers, and raised awareness among disaster victims of potential post-disaster infectious diseases. Furthermore, we also donated 65 containers to set up container clinics in 13 locations in Hatay province and provided 14 mobile clinics to those earthquake-hit cities. Until the end of April this year, our medical assistance programs have served more than 200,000 individuals, contributing to the non-stop service of medical care in the disaster area and supporting the prevention of the possible spread of infectious diseases.

Strengthening global pandemic preparedness

As the WHO cautions against the hypothetical threat of a Disease X pandemic, WHO and many countries began reviewing response strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Weaknesses in the International Health Regulations (2005) as concerns managing this crisis were revealed. Proposed revisions include enhanced surveillance, reporting and information sharing; improved response readiness; and revised criteria for declaring public health emergencies of international concerns (PHEICs).

Taiwan is not a WHO member state, thus we cannot directly influence revisions to the International Health Regulations (2005) or the drafting of the pandemic agreement. We are eager to contribute our insights into pandemic management and learn from international best practices. Supporting Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) also serves the global public interest. Taiwan’s participation in the WHA and WHO can safeguard the integrity of the global public health and epidemic prevention work, and avert any possibility that would hinder achieving the goal of my health, my right, leaves no one behind.

We understand that Türkiye has a strong and renowned health care system dedicated to protecting its people, improving health care, and reducing and mitigating disease risks, we also anticipate further cooperation and collaboration with Türkiye in advancing these shared goals to secure the well-being of our people and destroy any possible pandemic.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Global health Taiwan cares matters

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