Free medical checkups offered to migrant fishermen in Kaohsiung

Approximately 140 migrant workers received body checkups in Kaohsiung on Dec. 1

NIA organized clinical services for migrant fishermen. (NIA photo)

NIA organized clinical services for migrant fishermen. (NIA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The National Immigration Agency (NIA) teamed up with the Tzu Chi International Medical Association on Sunday (Dec. 1) to provide free clinical services to migrant workers in Kaohsiung, many of whom had just disembarked from fishing vessels.

The event came at a time when marine fishing vessels are returning to Taiwan from the northern Pacific Ocean loaded with Pacific saury.

NIA Director-General Chiu Feng-kuang (邱豐光) said the free medical checkups were targeted at migrant workers employed on fishing vessels because when they feel ill, they often take over-the-counter medicine instead of seeing a doctor.

Chiu observed that migrant crews are burdened with heavy workloads. Thus, the medical examinations were intended to ensure they are in good health, he added.

Sunday’s event included blood pressure tests and examinations of the eyes, teeth, abdomen, and heart carried out by a number of physicians at a fishermen’s service center near Kaohsiung’s Chien-chen Fishing Harbor. Treatment inspired by Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture, was also provided throughout the morning.

▶︎ NIA organizes free clinical services for migrant fishermen. (NIA photo)

A total of 10 Indonesian new immigrants volunteered as interpreters during physicians’ consultations with approximately 140 migrant participants. A lack of medical resources in migrant workers’ own countries means that getting access to medical services is not easy, said one Indonesian volunteer, who had invited hometown friends to take part in the checkups.

The participating fishermen expressed gratitude to the doctors and organizers of the event, according to the NIA.