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Closing the health gap for rural indigenous communities


Health is a basic human right, yet health inequalities remain widespread in countries around the world—and Taiwan is no exception. The Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2018 introduced an action plan outlining strategies to tackle national disparities in rural indigenous health care. The plan maps out 10 separate action plans to progressively improve health outcomes at the individual, family and community levels. In addition, on May 26, 2023 the government passed an act promoting indigenous health care to facilitate the realization of indigenous health rights, elevating the initiative from a plan to a law, in order to build a health care policy focused on indigenous peoples. Through these efforts, the government aims to expand health care coverage and develop services sensitive to local cultural safety.

10 action plans

Government funded training: Cultivate medical personnel who provide culturally safe care and are native speakers.

Community health development: Establish community health development centers to build environments that support the health of indigenous areas. Spread health awareness through bottom-up methods that suit local contexts, and strengthen concern for health among indigenous households.

Enhancement of rural and offshore island resources: Enhance the care capabilities of local hospitals by directing resources from major medical centers.

Capitation payment scheme: Provide an integrated delivery system for prevention, treatment and medical care services.

Management of high-risk pregnancies and follow-up perinatal care: Provide health education, follow-up care and referral services for women in high-risk pregnancies and for families with newborns who did not receive a prenatal exam.

Reduction of tobacco, alcohol and betel nut use: Create environments conducive to lower rates of tobacco, alcohol and betel nut use among indigenous peoples.

Accidental injury prevention: Develop safe communities by implementing accidental injury prevention models and confirming the causes and types of accidental injuries in indigenous areas. Actively promote child accidental injury prevention measures.

Treatment for the "three highs": For patients with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar, provide preventive health screenings, appropriate community health promotions and individual case management.

Gastrointestinal cancer prevention: Provide screening services to reduce the incidence and mortality rate of gastric cancer among indigenous peoples.

Aggressive tuberculosis screenings in mountainous regions: Increase overall coverage for active screening of tuberculosis, improve early detection of tuberculosis cases and administer appropriate medical treatments.

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