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May 27, 2021

Why Taiwan’s Participation in the World Health Assembly Matters

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Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2021. 11:01 am CST.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

By H.E. David Kuan-Chou Chien,

Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize

The 74th  World Health Assembly (WHA) is taking place virtually this week from May 24th to June 1st . Unfortunately, Taiwan, as an active global health partner, still been excluded for political reasons, which has damaged global cooperation on international public health issues. 

Since 2009 to 2016, Taiwan has been invited to the WHA as an observer and shared its remarkable experience in the field of healthcare as well as preventing the spread of various contagious diseases.  Moreover, Taiwan was the first government in Asia to echo the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of achieving “Universal Health Coverage” and also implemented one of the most successful “National Health Insurance” systems among the world, covering our country’s 23.5 million nationals since 1995. 

From the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted the globe, crippling health systems, economies, society, and even the way people communicate. Under these dire circumstances, Taiwan’s COVID-19 response remains one of the most successful in the world. Backed by its robust health system, Taiwan was able to quickly control the outbreak, saved the many lives of its citizens, and even collaborated with its international allies, such as Belize, on fighting against the pandemic.   

Disease knows no borders, and no country can face the pandemic alone. Taiwan is also no exception. It is imperative and urgent to include all nations in the preparation and response of global health emergencies at this critical moment. Only through international cooperation can we realize the early containment of the pandemic.    

Taiwan has a constructive role to play in creating a robust global health network, and the best way to share our experience with other countries is through participation in the WHO. Our voice has been echoed by the Government of Belize led by Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister, Hon. Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Sen. Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and many other members in the Cabinet have sent proposals or letters to the WHO Secretariat, urging WHO to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA.  The same assistance has also been given by most members of the National Assembly and the Senate of Belize, by joining the newly launched “Formosa Club” in the Caribbean, supporting Taiwan’s bid to take part in the 74th WHA. On behalf of the Government and people of Taiwan, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all Taiwan’s precious friends in Belize for their staunch support.

I would also like to take this opportunity to urge the WHO to acknowledge Taiwan’s contribution to global health issues and invite Taiwan as an observer to take part in the WHA.  Most of all, we firmly believe that Taiwan’s involvement in the WHA can make the world a safer place to live.  (E)

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