Taiwan first in Asia to enact public health expert certification law

Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung lauds country’s effort to legalize public health expertise

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Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung

Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The head of Taiwan’s coronavirus task force on Saturday (July 4) described “public health” as an indicator of national power, with Taiwan becoming the first country in Asia to enact a law for public health expert certification.

Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) made the remarks at a symposium held by the Taiwan Public Health Association, reported CNA. The long-delayed legislation passed in mid-May, partly due to the pandemic highlighting the importance of the medical profession.

Commenting on the fact that it took two decades to implement the law, Chen said it would mean experts in the field are recognized. It will also contribute to better preparedness in the event of health emergencies.

Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權), dean of National Taiwan University’s College of Public Health (CPH), lamented the fact that every year, about 1,000 graduates from public health departments at the country's universities are forced to choose a career unrelated to their skill set for lack of a suitable certification mechanism. The current pandemic underscores the need to address the issue, as public health expertise can prevent loopholes on the front line.

According to the Public Health Expert Act, certified professionals will be tasked with conducting environmental risk assessment, epidemiologic studies, disease investigation and prevention, public well-being promotion, food safety management, and other tasks.