TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The World Health Organization (WHO) pushed back against accusations that it has blocked Taiwan from the global health conversation as a full-page advertisement advocating the slogan “Taiwan Can Help” was featured in The New York Times Tuesday (April 14).
The ad, which was made possible through a crowdfunding campaign, was placed to strike home the message that Taiwan has struggled to fight its own battles during both the SARS pandemic of 2003 and the current coronavirus pandemic, as it has been isolated from the WHO. It also highlights Taiwan's willingness to help.
In response, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic listed 13 different points over the years at which the UN body had an exchange with Taiwan, including its response to the coronavirus pandemic, wrote CNA.
Taiwan can access and update relevant information to the WHO via International Health Regulations (IHR) contacts and the Event Information Site (EIS), he said. Representatives from Taiwan have also been allowed to participate in a number of WHO-organized events and sharing platforms, including a research and innovation forum on COVID-19 in February.
The statement stressed that Taiwan can always report issues and consult with the WHO through its Geneva office. It also paid tribute to Taiwan’s vaccine companies, which have contributed to the UN agency’s fight against infectious diseases.
Countering the WHO’s claims, the Trade Office of Taiwan in Geneva said the island country is only allowed to attend a limited number of technical events. It slammed the WHO for presenting misleading information that fails to paint a clear picture of the obstacles Taiwan has encountered in its efforts to access the global health system.