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() - May 1, 2007 - 11:11am
Taiwan’s bid to be counted as a sovereign member of the United Nations has so far been unsuccessful. China continues to block this, being one among five permanent members of the Security Council. The rationale for the consistent denial in the UN needs to be reviewed. Its efforts continue to be overshadowed by the One-China Policy, which holds that Taiwan is part of China and there is but one China. Likewise, Taiwan’s campaign for observer status in the World Health Assembly (WHA) over the past ten years has yielded no substantial results. Dr. Wu Shuh-min, president of the Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan, appreciates the fact that the United States has facilitated Taiwan’s efforts to become an observer at the World Health Assembly (WHA) meetings. However, this participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) as a whole, can only be truly meaningful if Taiwan is granted full WHO membership. WHO’s refusal for Taiwan to attend avian flu-related international conferences, for instance, prevents the transmission of valuable experiences by Taiwan in disease prevention. The rest of the world needs to know how Taiwan keeps the avian flu disease outside its borders and remains one of the few nations in the region free of the virus.
The avian flu pandemic can easily lead to a global crisis while important disease and control prevention lessons are ignored. The first step toward establishing an international health security network is to get all countries and governments to be integrated into the global health system. Taiwan’s meaningful participation in world health security efforts cannot be undermined. Its extensive involvement in providing efficient health care and protecting the basic rights of local people in times of disaster and medical emergency may be shared with the rest of the world to promote health cooperation and security. Examples include providing relief to South Asian tsunami victims; participation in a WHO poliomyelitis eradication program in The Gambia; implementing AIDS prevention in Malawi; expanding medical facilities in Swaziland, conducting malaria and cholera control in Sao Tomé e Principe; helping control Rift Valley Fever in a Kenyan refugee camp near Somalia; and, most recently, offering medical relief to earthquake victims on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Letting go of political prejudices and engaging in professional health exchanges and cooperation is the only way we can achieve a secure global health community, and world harmony. The time to act is now. Include Taiwan in the WHO and complete the international epidemic prevention system.

DR. WU SHUH FOUNDATION OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS ALLIANCE HEALTH INCLUDE TAIWAN ONE-CHINA POLICY RIFT VALLEY FEVER SAO TOM SECURITY COUNCIL TAIWAN WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
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