US continues to support Taiwan’s participation at WHA: AIT Director

31 medical experts from 15  Pacific and Southeast Asian countries join workshop aimed at improving enterovirus diagnosis 


The opening ceremony of the Training Workshop on Laboratory Diagnosis of Enteroviruses is joined by representatives from MOHW, MOFA, and AIT (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — At the opening ceremony of a workshop intended to promote enterovirus diagnosis and build medical networks in the region, Kin Moy, director at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), said the U.S. would continue to support Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer.

The Training Workshop on Laboratory Diagnosis of Enteroviruses, held by the Center for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), is part of the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), an agreement signed between Taiwan and the U.S. in 2015. 

As the ceremony was joined by Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), Deputy Foreign Minister François Wu (吳志中), and the AIT Director, much attention was paid to the issue of whether Taiwan will be invited to the coming WHA.

Moy said, the U.S. has "consistently supported Taiwan’s participation as an observer at the annual World Health Assembly and in technical meetings.”

“We were disappointed that Taiwan did not receive an invitation to observe the WHA last year, but remain committed to advancing our close cooperation with Taiwan across the spectrum of public health issues,” said the director.

The health minister also said after the event that due to the efforts of MOHW and MOFA, Taiwan’s allies and like-minded countries were "much more actively” offering support this year for Taiwan’s participation at the WHA, and thus raising awareness of Taiwan's situation in the world. 

Referring to the recent spread of measles in which some of the patients contracted the disease overseas, Chen said, ”Any infection occurred in one place will be a threat to the region or even the world.”

“Disease prevention and control are efforts without borders. It is important that we all work together,” added the minister. 

The deputy foreign minister mentioned that the workshop was the first event held under the Taiwan-US GCTF this year, which “not only institutionalized the long-term bilateral cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S., but also functioned as a multilateral mechanism for Taiwan to contribute its expertise to the betterment of the region and the globe.”

The workshop “demonstrates Taiwan’s determination to contribute to preventing and controlling infectious diseases,” said Wu.

“Through sharing knowledge indiscriminately, exchanging information timely, and establishing networks across borders, we believe we can safeguard the health of our people and promote prosperity of the region,” added Wu.

The four-day workshop starting Monday will include lectures delivered by Leonard Peruski and John MacArthur, both of whom are officials from the U.S. Center for Disease Control. 

Thirty one medical experts from 15  Pacific and Southeast Asian countries will take part in the workshop intended to improve the attendees' ability to diagnose enteroviruses and enhance the capacity of countries in the region to prevent pandemics together by building stronger healthcare networks.