Taiwan Can Help, and Taiwan is Helping!
In contrast with the international COVID-19 outbreak, Taiwan's condition is relatively more stable. Moreover, after prospective strategic planning that was carried out at a much early stage,Taiwan's epidemic prevention materials have been increasing to sufficient supply. Knowing that this disease infection can reach anyone globally, therefore, as long as the global pandemic does not slow down, Taiwan will continue to face the threat coming from COVID-19. Under the circumstances that Taiwan now has sufficient resources, we are willing, and have the ability to offer our helping hand to support our friends. From donating masks, pharmaceuticals supplies to the international collaborations, we are demonstrating the spirit of "Taiwan Can Help, and Taiwan is Helping!"
I. Safeguard Taiwan and Help the World:
The German Minister of Health, Mr. Jens Spahn, had sent a letter to Minister of Health and Welfare (MOHW) , Shih-Chung Chen, to thank Taiwan for donating masks to the German medical health workers.
II. Intensify the collaboration with the US, European Union, Australia and other countries with regard to epidemic prevention:
Epidemic prevention collaboration: Medigen Vaccine and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) are now working hand in hand over the development of COVID-19 vaccine. Animal tests are done by the Medigen Vaccine from using the vaccines that are provided by the NIH to speed up the development.
III. Promote participation in the WHO:
To safeguard the rights to healthcare of the people of Taiwan and fulfill global citizen's responsibilities. Taiwan initiated the promotional project of participating in the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1997. WHO had included Taiwan in 2009 as part of the "International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR2005)". Taiwan was able to participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA), the highest health policy setting body of the WHO from 2009 to 2016.
A.The 73rd World Health Assembly in May 2020
- The Minister submitted an article entitled“Global Health Security—A Call for Taiwan's Inclusion.” 212 articles were published by the international news media, including “The Times” in the UK, “Le Monde” in France, “The Asahi Shimbun” in Japan, and “The Sydney Morning Herald” in Australia. Nearly 150 news agencies in 45 countries published this article.
- The Minister of Health and Welfare Shih-Chung Chen and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar II had a video conference on April 27, 2020 to exchange ideas over the COVID-19 prevention strategies, global health security and Taiwan's participation in the WHO. The U.S. government expressed their support for Taiwan's observer status in the WHO. Both sides agreed to intensify and expand their collaboration in the areas of public health, especially the cooperation in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and epidemic prevention materials between Taiwan and the U.S..
- The Statement on Taiwan's Exclusion from WHA
The Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released statements on Taiwan's exclusion from the 73rd World Health Assembly on May 19, 2020. In the HHS statement, the United States urges the WHO to return to the practice of inviting Taiwan to participate as an observer in the WHA. The exclusion of Taiwan from the WHA must not continue. The United States also urges the WHO to systematically engage with Taiwan health experts on COVID-19 and beyond. The global community could learn from Taiwan's experience from COVID-19 and do more to include them. In its statement, MOHW is grateful for the staunch and longstanding support from the United States, Taiwan's diplomatic allies, and other like-minded countries for ensuring Taiwan's meaningful participation in WHO meetings so that Taiwan can make further global contributions. Taiwan will continue to work with these countries and observe the principles of professionalism, pragmatism, and making contributions as it seeks to broaden its international participation.
Link to the U.S. HHS statement
- On May 15, 2020, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) held a virtual forum titled "Review of COVID-19 prevention and control strategies" in Taipei with 50 health officials from 14 countries and regional organizations in attendance, including the U.S., Japan, Canada and other like-minded countries. The forum underlined that preventing the spread of diseases and maintaining health of all humankinds are universal values, while no countries can stand aside or achieve these on their own. Acting Assistant Secretary of U.S. Department of State for International Organization Affairs Pam Pryor praised the Taiwan Model for Combating COVID-19, reaffirming that the United States vigorously supports Taiwan's participation in international organizations including the WHO, and expressed that they are grateful other countries stand together to support Taiwan's inclusion in the global health system. Deputy Director for Global Affairs of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Colin McIff, praised the Taiwan Model, and stressed the U.S. support for Taiwan's inclusion in the WHO. At the forum, delegations of participating countries complimented Taiwan's efforts combating COVID-19 and discussed their prevention and control measures as well as future collaboration.
- International support
Even though Taiwan did not receive an invitation to participate in the virtual 73rd WHA held on May 18 and 19, 2020, Taiwan's diplomatic allies and like-minded countries voiced their strong support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO.
During the WHA, 14 diplomatic allies firmly backed Taiwan's participation in the WHO and demanded that WHO invite Taiwan to attend the WHA as an Observer. In addition, the like-minded countries such as the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Czech Republic endorsed Taiwan's campaign by directly expressing support for Taiwan or, echoing Taiwan's arguments, by emphasizing inclusiveness and stressing the need for global epidemic prevention efforts to include all parties and have no gaps.
Clips of officials speaking up for Taiwan at the 73rd WHA
B.Resumption of the 73rd World Health Assembly in November 2020:
- In response to the resumption of the 73rd WHA, the Minister of Health and Welfare has submitted an article titled “Support Taiwan's inclusion in the post-COVID-19 global public health network.” The article has been published on 175 occasions by the international media from 48 countries, including The Wall Street Journal (U.S.), The Daily Telegraph (U.K.), The National Post (Canada), Politiken (Denmark), Die Presse (Austria), and The Times of India (India).
- International advocacy
In November 2020, a 3D construction of the text “#Taiwan Can Help” was placed in the square in front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, where the Broken Chair sculpture is located. Advertisements were also placed on trams in Geneva. The diplomatic allies and like-minded countries of Taiwan were invited to take photos and make promotional videos together(link). Additionally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs produced a promotion video “Never Give Up”, which tells the story of the emergency liver transplant performed on a Vietnamese baby girl, who was granted special authorization by humanitarian consideration to come to Taiwan for medical procedures during the pandemic period. The Ministry of Health and Welfare also released a video titled “Global Health Solidarity in the Post-COVID-19 Era: 2020 Global Health Forum in Taiwan”. It emphasized that Taiwan's participation in WHO is essential for global prevention against diseases and pandemics, demonstrating Taiwan's determination to actively collaborate with the international community and work together for the health of all. These advertisements and advocacies were simultaneously published on relevant social media and were widely promoted and marketed through the influence of new media platforms and online communities to synergistically expand the effectiveness of international publicity.
- The Ministry of Health and Welfare organized a virtual forum on “Innovation of the National Cancer Registry” on November 12, 2020, inviting more than 100 health officials and experts from 17 countries including the United States, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The Forum emphasized that a comprehensive cancer registry can not only provide indispensable reference information for countries and healthcare authorities to formulate prevention and treatment policies, but also allow academic institutions to carry out research on the various cancer risk factors and efficacy of prevention and treatments. In his address during the Forum, Garrett Grigsby, Director of the Office of Global Affairs of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, acknowledged the cancer prevention achievement of Taiwan and its positive contribution to the global health system. He asserted that Taiwan should not be excluded from WHO in the current global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. William Brent Christensen, Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, noted in his closing remarks that Taiwan and the United States have been cooperating for more than two decades on medicine and healthcare. In August of this year, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar II, visited Taiwan and witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on medicine and health cooperation between the two nations, anticipating Taiwan to play a more important role in future cancer research. At the closing of the event, Minister Chen Shih-Chung also reiterated that, as a member of the global community, Taiwan is willing to share its application of artificial intelligence in the national cancer registry system, and to demonstrate by concrete actions that “Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping”, to fight for participation in WHO through making practical and meaningful contributions.
- Strong international support
Although Taiwan was not invited to participate in the online resumption of the 73rd WHA in November 2020, our appeal has nevertheless received great international attention and support, and our diplomatic allies or like-minded countries have continued to voice strong support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA.
In the second half of 2020, Taiwan's appeal to participate in WHO has garnered public support from many high-ranking officials, such as the former Prime Minister of Japan, the Prime Minister of Australia and New Zealand, U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of Health and Human Services, the foreign ministers of France, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden, German Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, and the U.K. Minister of State. Legislators around the world have also shown unprecedented support for Taiwan’s participation in WHO. More than 1,700 lawmakers from over 80 countries in Europe, the United States, Latin America, Africa, and the Asia Pacific regions have openly expressed their support. In addition, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), an international group of legislator hailing from five continents and 18 countries, as well as the European Parliament, and the World Medical Association (WMA) have published official statements backing Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the WHA and other WHO meetings, mechanisms, and activities.
(3) Efforts to participate in the WHA in 2021
- In 2021, the Minister's article entitled "Building a resilient and inclusive global health system together - Taiwan can help " was published in 53 countries, including The Diplomat (U.S.), Sankei Shimbun (Japan), National Post (Canada), and The Indian Express (India), among 221 other publications.
- Minister Shih-Chung Chen and Secretary Xavier Becerra of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services held a bilateral video conference on the morning of May 21, 2021, to discuss how to continue to deepen U.S.-Taiwan cooperation in healthcare and scientific innovation under the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2020. Secretary Becerra commended the solid partnership and collaboration between both sides in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year and also emphasized that the U.S. will support Taiwan in obtaining COVID-19 vaccines.
- Taiwan Centers for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and relevant agencies from the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Australia co-organized the virtual Global Cooperation and Training Framework (vGCTF) workshop entitled "COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout: Experiences and Challenges" on May 18, 2021. A total of 135 experts from 36 countries participated in the virtual workshop to discuss topics related to COVID-19 vaccines, ranging from vaccine introductions and safety to vaccine distribution and priority lists in the respective country.
- Strong international support
With the critical situation of the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the world for more than a year, the international community increasingly understands the need, urgency, and legitimacy for inclusive global cooperation in disease prevention and has extended an unprecedented level of support for Taiwan's participation in the WHA. High-ranking officials from the United States, Japan, and Canada have publicly expressed support for Taiwan's participation in the WHA. The Group of Seven (G7) together with the European Union (EU) unequivocally advocated for Taiwan's meaningful participation in the WHO and WHA in the foreign ministers' communiqué.
Parliaments across the globe have also demonstrated their support through concrete actions in diverse and innovative ways, including passed resolutions or issued statements calling for Taiwan's participation in the WHA, sent letters individually or jointly to the WHO Director-General or their governments voicing support for Taiwan, and launching "#LetTaiwanHelp" social media campaign. The Formosa Clubs in six regions, comprising over 1,000 parliamentarians from more than 100 countries, held virtual meetings and sent letters jointly to the WHO Director-General in support of Taiwan.
In addition, international professional organizations representing medical communities such as the World Medical Association (WMA) Council, the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA), the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) and other regional medical associations in Europe, Latin America and Africa have also demonstrated their strong support for Taiwan through proposals and letters to the WHO Director-General or the EU.
During the 74th WHA, 14 of our diplomatic allies, as Member States of the WHO, strongly urged the WHO to invite Taiwan to attend the WHA by submitting a proposals, sending letters, making statements, participating in debates at the WHA plenary session and the WHA General Committee. Furthermore, like-minded countries also expressed their staunch support at the WHA. The United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the Sovereign Order of Malta explicitly endorsed Taiwan’s bid, while Germany, France, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania asserted the need for WHO and the global public health system to be inclusive and to incorporate all parties.
The Ministry will continue to cooperate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with its overall strategies. With civil power, we will take advantage of hard-to-come-by international support this year and strive to attend as an Observer. We emphasize again that United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, and Resolution 25.1 of the 25th WHA are not relevant with Taiwan, and do not authorize People’s Republic of China to represent Taiwan in the WHO. Republic of China (Taiwan) is a democratic state and only the government elected by Taiwanese citizens is eligible to represent them to join international organizations. WHO’s refusal to block Taiwan from attending the WHA and WHO’s conferences, mechanisms and activities is contrary to the common interest of international society, and go against the WHO’s philosophy “Leave no one behind.” The goal “Health for All” can be achieved earlier only by allowing Taiwan to join the WHO.
IV. Strengthening exchange and connection with other countries:
On 7-8 February 2020, Deputy Minister Dr. Chi-Kung Ho led a delegation to participate in the 2020 1st APEC Health Working Group Meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia. In this meeting, we not only shared Taiwan's COVID-19 prevention and control measures, but also was the leader economy in the "Digital Health Sub-working Group" established in the agreement of all attended member economies. The APEC Health Working Group Statement on COVID-19 is attached.
Minister Chen gave a remark through video in the “10th High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy,” he mentioned that Taiwan prevent the spread of the COVID-19 successfully within domestic region with digital technology innovation during pandemic period. In addition, Taiwan is willing to share relevant best practices to all economies and build a resilient Asia-Pacific region together.
MOHW Counselor Li-Ling Liu had a bilateral meeting with Asher Salmon, Head of Office of International Relations and Media, Ministry of Health, Israel on May 3, 2020. Both sides had a discussion over the disease prevention policies in depth.
On June 22 2020, Deputy Minister Chi-Kung Ho and Secretary General Karine Moykens, Administrator General Dr. Dirk Dewolf of Flemish Policy Domain Welfare, Public Health and Family of Belgium and their experts had a virtual meeting. They discussed the key to Taiwan’s successful response in combating COVID-19 and how we use digital technology for prevention, control and contact tracing. Flanders complimented Taiwan on our achievements.
Link to the Fdfa.be
On October 14 2020, Dr. Chen Shih-Chung, Minister of Health and Welfare, participated in the opening remarks of “Nikkei eTech EXPO 2020”. Dr. Shih Chung-Liang, the Vice Minister of Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated in Webinar discussing topics such as COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Taiwan, Introduction of CECC and Nosocomial Control, and Post Covid-19 Era, etc. (Click here)
The new representative of the Turkish Trade Office in Taipei, Mr. Muhammed Berdibek, paid a visit to the MOHW on October 21, 2020, and discussed with the Minister Chen on epidemic prevention materials, vaccines, and Taiwan's quarantine measures for entry, and highly affirmed the results of our epidemic prevention results.
The 2020 Global Health Forum in Taiwan was held on Oct 23 & 24. The topic this year is “Achieving SDGs in the Post-COVID-19 Era: Innovation, Inclusion and Partnership.” More than 1,000 participants, including officials, experts, and scholars from around 60 countries joined online or on-site.
The Institute for Biotechnology and Medicine Industry(IBMI) had held the 2020 Healthcare+ Expo Taiwan on December 3-6. For the first time, the Ministry of Health and Welfare had participated in this event by setting up the "Ministry of Health and Welfare New Southbound pavilion". Through the physical and online pavilions, we had exhibited Taiwan new southbound policy for medical and health care and the production capacity of the epidemic prevention industry. We also need to thank to the new Southbound Policy related departments and 1c1c medical centers' support and assistance through this event. The pavilion had held 15 results presentations and manufacturer product demo activities, with a total of about 400 participants. As of the end of the exhibition (December 6), the online pavilion had 10,788 views. Many distinguished guests visited during the period, including Vice President Lai, former Vice President Chen, Chairman Weng and Chief Executive Qian of the Institute for Biotechnology and Medicine Industry, Deputy Chief Negotiator Yang of the Office of Trade Negotiations, and the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the 1c1c Medical Centers. Also thank to Chief Secretary Zhang, for coming to preside over the opening ceremony, and thanks for Deputy Minister Shi gave a speech on the morning of December 4th for the presentation of vaccine research.
Minister Shih-Chung Chen had a fruitful virtual bilateral meeting with Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Janša to exchange opinion on COVID-19 prevention and control strategies, as well as other important global health issues on January 6th, 2021. During the meeting, Prime Minister Janša recalled how he was impressed by Taiwan's health care system during his visit to Taiwan and praised Taiwan on its COVID-19 containment. They discussed COVID-19 prevention and control strategies including vaccination, border control, quarantine and contact tracing, etc. Before concluding the meeting, Minister Chen thanked Prime Minister Janša for supporting Taiwan's inclusion in WHO. Both sides agreed upon the importance of global solidarity in combating COVID-19 and looked forward to more health cooperation.
On May 25, Minister Chen had a virtual meeting with the Head of European Economic and Trade Office, Filip Grzegorzewski, and the EU representatives from 15 European countries, discussing about Taiwan’s COVID-19 outbreak situation, our vaccine access, border control and other relevant epidemic prevention and control policies.
On May 21, Minister Chen had a virtual meeting with the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, discussing on how to continuously deepen the Taiwan- U.S. cooperation on medical and health, and scientific innovation under the MOU signed in 2020. Secretary Xavier Becerra praised Taiwan’s contribution to the world since the outbreak of COVID-19 and emphasized the importance of Taiwan-U.S. cooperation to maintain global health security in the Indo-Pacific region. Secretary Becerra thanked Taiwan especially for its assistance to the U.S. and reiterated that the U.S. will continue to fully support Taiwan's participation in the WHO and global health affairs, as well as our access to vaccines.
Shin Kong Memorial Hospital had a video conference with medical staff from Palau to understand the infection condition of American volunteers, as well as discussing over means of carrying out screening and the specimen transfer processes.
The Taiwan embassy in Saint Christopher and Nevis arranged a video conference with Cameron Wilkinson, medical head of the JNF Hospital to take part in the “Chi Mei Medical Center to share Taiwan's experiences on COVID-19 prevention with the Caribbean allies”. Apart from the Saint Christopher, Belize, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and Grenadines also took part in the conference. Furthermore, Chi Mei Medical Center also had a video conference with the Taiwan Embassy in Haiti and Ministry of Public Health and Population of Haiti (Figure on the right) .
The Taiwan Embassy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines arranged an online video meeting for medical staff from the Milton Cato hospital to participate in the "Chi Mei Medical Center to share Taiwan's experiences on COVID-19 prevention with the Caribbean allies".
Cathy General Hospital and the disease prevention government officials from the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Paraguay had an online video meeting at the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) Paraguay technical team office over Health Information System (HIS) efficacy promotion project. During the conference, Cathy General Hospital had shared their epidemic prevention measures, and carried out discussions over how to enhance Paraguay's hospitals capacity in combating COVID-19.
Multilateral video conference between National Taiwan University Hospital and the Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA) under the SE-COMISCA was carried out, sharing Taiwan's effective hospital measures in epidemic prevention and successful experiences with eight other member states (Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica, Dominica and El Salvador).
A video conference to provide an overview of COVID-19 and disease prevention experience sharing was conducted between Changhua Christian Hospital and Myanmar Medical Association (Figure on the left). Furthermore, Changhua Christian Hospital worked with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand to carry out a video conference "South-bound smart disease prevention: Taiwan medical intelligence and strategic prevention in COVID-19 outbreak", sharing the efforts and outcomes of Taiwan's prevention in combating COVID-19 (Figure on the right) .
The National Cheng Kung University Hospital had a live stream with medical staff in India to share their COVID-19 screening processes, drug management methods, ways to control the number of cases, mask management policies and various other Taiwan's experience in disease prevention.
The Taipei Medical University Hospital had a video conference with the Ulyanovsk Regional Clinical Center for Specialized Types of Medical Care and arrangements through the Taiwan Representative in Russia to liaise and arrange meetings with the Health Bureau in Ulyanovsk, regional hospitals, medical faculties and governmental disease prevention units to share Taiwan's experience in COVID-19 prevention.
- Last Updated:2021-08-18
- Data Source:Office of International Cooperation
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