Premier Lin Chuan today praised the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) for a job well done at last month’s World Health Assembly (WHA), where Taiwan’s delegation—following the principles of expertise, practicality, and the determination to make a contribution—participated in 59 bilateral meetings and 30 technical meetings, the most ever for the nation.
This was Taiwan’s eighth year attending the WHA since being invited to attend as an observer in 2009, the MOHW said in its report to the Cabinet. The delegation was led by Health Minister Lin Tzou-yien, who delivered a five-minute speech to the WHA on May 25. Aside from describing Taiwan’s efforts and achievements in the field of public health, Minister Lin expressed the nation’s willingness to provide training opportunities for 50 surgical trainers from around the world within the next five years. He also called on the World Health Organization (WHO) and its members to support Taiwan’s efforts to represent its 23 million people through robust participation in WHO conferences and activities.
Given Taiwan’s worldwide reputation for excellent public health care, the MOHW said it will devote a larger slice of its budget to international medical assistance. Crafting Taiwan’s image as a major provider of humanitarian assistance will enable it to break through more restrictions on its diplomatic space. The ministry will also form an advisory panel of scholars and medical experts on expanding Taiwan’s participation in the WHO.
Premier Lin noted that promoting Taiwan’s WHO participation should not be the work of a single government agency. He asked Minister without Portfolio Lin Wan-i to oversee the MOHW on the formation an interministerial task force on global health, as recommended by the health minister. The premier also instructed the MOHW to work closely with the academic and medical communities to assemble the WHO participation advisory panel.
Capitalizing on its strengths in medical care and public health, Taiwan can raise its diplomatic visibility by participating vigorously in international affairs and fulfilling its social responsibilities, the premier continued. He directed the MOFA to make international medical assistance a priority task. The premier also instructed the MOHW to promote health care exports to Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which not only sustains Taiwan’s health care industry and promotes medical diplomacy, but also supports the government’s New Southbound Policy of enhancing two-way interactions with the region.