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Closing the health gap for rural indigenous communities


Statistics show that life expectancy and health outcomes among Taiwan's indigenous communities lag far behind the national average. To rectify this issue, the Ministry of Health and Welfare in May 2018 introduced a two-year action plan outlining strategies for tackling indigenous health care disparities. Targeting the individual, family and community levels, the plan maps out 10 separate action plans focused on expanding coverage of health care and developing services sensitive to local cultures, with the ultimate objectives of improving quality of life in rural indigenous communities and closing the life expectancy gap with the rest of the nation.

Ten action plans

◆ Government funded training: Cultivate native-speaking and culturally sensitive medical personnel.

◆ Community health development: Build a health care model of locals serving locals.

◆ 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: Provide health education, follow-up care and referral services to women in high-risk pregnancies from pregnancy to six weeks postpartum.

◆ Reduction of tobacco, alcohol and betel nut use: Improve cessation and abstinence rates for tobacco, alcohol and betel nut use among indigenous people.

◆ Accidental injury prevention: Create a safe living environment by improving health knowledge and emphasizing personal responsibility for health.

◆ Treatment for the "three highs": For patients with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar, provide intervention measures such as health screenings, individual case management and drug use management.

◆ Gastrointestinal cancer prevention: Introduce screening services for gastrointestinal cancers (gastric, oral, esophageal and colon cancers).

◆ Aggressive tuberculosis screenings in mountainous regions: Strengthen chest X-ray mobile screening services for indigenous communities in mountainous regions.

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