Premier calls for Taiwan to promote medical diplomacy

  • Date: 2016-06-02
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

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.