Look to Tai­wan for model health cover

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

UNI­VER­SAL health cov­er­age is one of the core prin­ci­ples of the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, as spec­i­fied in the global body’s con­sti­tu­tion. To pro­mote this con­cept around the world in line with the UN sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goals (SDGs), the WHO ad­vo­cates es­sen­tial cov­er­age and ser­vices across 16 indi­ca­tors in four cat­e­gories.

As the first coun­try in Asia to im­ple­ment a na­tional health in­sur­ance, Tai­wan has achieved ex­cep­tional re­sults in these ar­eas. In ad­di­tion, with the NHI in place for more than two decades, Tai­wan has ac­cu­mu­lated ex­ten­sive ex­per­tise that can ben­e­fit coun­tries work­ing to im­ple­ment sim­i­lar pro­grammes. Tai­wan is ready and will­ing to share its ex­pe­ri­ences so as to as­sist na­tions in achiev­ing the third SDG of en­sur­ing healthy lives and pro­mot­ing well-be­ing at all ages. When it comes to re­al­is­ing health for all, Tai­wan can help.

In line with the in­ter­na­tional ef­fort to achieve the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goals and en­sure that peo­ple of all ages, es­pe­cially in­fants and chil­dren, have ac­cess to med­i­cal ser­vices, Tai­wan’s med­i­cal teams have seen ser­vice in na­tions par­tic­u­larly in Africa, Asia, Cen­tral and South Amer­ica, and the South Pa­cific. Act­ing both in res­i­dence and as mo­bile med­i­cal teams, these pro­fes­sion­als have pro­vided clin­i­cal care, of­fered san­i­ta­tion ed­u­ca­tion, and pro­vided train­ing in mid­wifery and med­i­cal man­age­ment to im­prove the health of preg­nant women and in­fants.

In Burk­ina Faso, Tai­wan’s med­i­cal per­son­nel treat about 14,000 pa­tients each year. And, since 2006, over 100 mo­bile med­i­cal teams have been dis­patched to more than 20 coun­tries in Africa, Cen­tral and South Amer­ica, South­east Asia, and the Pa­cific, ben­e­fit­ing over 150,000 peo­ple. Pri­vate char­i­ta­ble groups from Tai­wan also run free clin­ics all over the world.

Since the 1980s, Tai­wan has been ac­tive in pro­vid­ing na­tions struck by nat­u­ral dis­as­ters with med­i­cal aid and re­lief sup­plies, and help­ing them re­build. Ac­cu­mu­lated gov­ern­ment and pri­vate dona­tions pro­vided by Tai­wan now to­tal over US$1 bil­lion. The re­sults of Tai­wan’s ef­forts in this vein can be seen the world over.

Tai­wan’s pri­vate or­gan­i­sa­tions have grown prodi­giously since the 1990s, and of­ten send hu­man­i­tar­ian med­i­cal teams abroad to work in dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties. Their com­mit­ment to sav­ing lives has done them, and the na­tion, proud. In 2016, for ex­am­ple, a young girl from Viet­nam with lym­phatic fi­lar­i­a­sis, as well as a Cam­bo­dian boy with a con­gen­i­tal heart prob­lem, were suc­cess­fully treated in Tai­wan.

Be­gin­ning in 2009, the WHO in­vited Tai­wan to take part in the World Health Assem­bly for eight con­sec­u­tive years, bridg­ing the gap in global health co­op­er­a­tion and epi­demic preven­tion. Tai­wan has won wide­spread in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion for its pro­fes­sional par­tic­i­pa­tion.

De­spite ob­sta­cles, Tai­wan looks for con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion, with the sup­port of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and all rel­e­vant par­ties, in WHA and WHO-re­lated meet­ings, mech­a­nisms, and ac­tiv­i­ties in line with the prin­ci­ples of pro­fes­sion­al­ism, prag­ma­tism, and mak­ing con­tri­bu­tions, and seeks to work with coun­tries to re­alise the UN sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goals.

Liu Bang-chuan Se­nior Ad­viser Taipei Eco­nomic and Cul­tural Of­fice in Malaysia

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