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WHO bid seen slowly progressing

WHO bid seen slowly progressing

Despite its failed bid again this year to enter the World Health Organization, Taiwan has been making incremental progress towards its goal, said Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), Taiwan's Representative to Geneva, yesterday.
"For example, two years ago, none of our experts were allowed or even invited to attend any WHO sponsored technical meetings, but now the rate of attendance has increased dramatically," he said.
Currently, two medical experts from Taiwan's Center for Disease Control are on the mailing list for the Outbreak Verification List, a WHO weekly update on disease outbreak situations around the world, he noted.
Moreover, after three years of negotiations, the WHO and Taiwan have established an understanding that if Taiwan should ever experience another medical emergency, the country can contact the health body directly for assistance, without having to go through Beijing, he disclosed.
He also said that progress has been made in terms of Taiwan's participation in various international organizations, such as Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions NETwork, a program within the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.
"At the moment, we are a de facto member of GOARN, meaning that although our experts are not asked to respond, they can have access to information regarding outbreaks around the world because we are an official TEPHINET partner," he explained.
Furthermore, Taiwan has been gaining more support from countries around the world, Shen noted, referring to nine allied countries and five non-allied nations that spoke in favor of Taiwan during yesterday's Committee A meeting.
The nine allies were Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Tome, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and Malawi. The other five were the United States, Japan, Mongolia, Australia, and Canada.
It was reported that during the meeting, these supporting countries not only publicly commended Taiwan's medical contributions, they also urged the international community to broaden the horizon of the "universal application" outlined in the International Health Regulations 2005 by including Taiwan as part of the health framework.
Yesterday, Taiwan health minister Hou Sheng-mou (侯勝茂) and deputy foreign minister Michael Kau (高英茂) had a meeting with U.S. secretary of health and human services Michael Leavitt to discuss the U.S. stance on Taiwan's participation in the WHO.
Hou said the meeting was "pleasant" and "productive," adding that Leavitt publicly recognized Taiwan's medical aid to African and South American countries.
In a letter to late WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wok, Leavitt reiterated that "the U.S. continues to support observer status for Taiwan at the WHA, as well as participation of public-health experts from Taiwan in technical activities undertaken by the WHO secretariat." The letter also called on the WHO to work with "relevant member states" to identify mechanisms for Taiwanese experts to participate in GOARN and facilitate Taiwan's involvement in the IHR 2005 framework.


Updated : 2021-10-24 18:24 GMT+08:00