TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is soon expected to enact regulation for the certification of public health experts in a bid to improve its disease control preparedness in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A Cabinet meeting on Thursday (April 23) approved the “Public Health Experts Bill,” which the government hopes will pass the legislature before its session concludes at the end of May, wrote Liberty Times.
The criteria for individuals seeking a certificate will be expanded to include people without a diploma in public health, but the expertise required for the profession will not be compromised, said Shih Chung-liang (石崇良), director-general of the Ministry of Health and Welfare's Department of Medical Affairs. Know-how in epidemiology, biostatistics, and health behaviors, for example, will be relevant to the certification.
Currently, around 50,000 people qualifiy to register for an examination. Those certified will be able to practice public health work in areas like community-prone health hazards, epidemic investigation, health surveys for the general public, well-being promotion, and food safety, reported UDN.
The coronavirus outbreak has revived calls in Taiwan for such a certification system to better cope with health emergencies. Public health talent can help prevent loopholes in the frontline of disease control and design response measures when a disease strikes.
Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權), dean of National Taiwan University’s College of Public Health (CPH), has slammed Taiwan’s legislature for putting a bill of this sort on the back-burner since 2000. The U.S. has moved to inject resources into the cultivation of public health professionals since the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, according to Chan.