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US voices support for Taiwan's participation in WHO as observer

US highlights contributions Taiwan could make in terms of COVID-19 response

WHO Executive Board meeting (Twitter, @WHO photo) 

WHO Executive Board meeting (Twitter, @WHO photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — At a World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 19), the United States voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the global body as an observer state.

The 148th session of the Executive Board is taking place online due to the coronavirus from Jan. 18-26. During Tuesday’s session on mental health preparedness and the response to the pandemic, the director of the U.S. Health Department's Office of Global Affairs, Garret Grigsby, pointed out that the coronavirus has and will continue to have both short- and long-term effects on mental health.

In regard to the COVID-19 response, he said the U.S. advocates “a whole of society approach to promote, protect, and care for mental health, ensure widespread availability of emergency mental health and psychosocial support, and support recovery from COVID-19 by building and integrating mental health services for the future.”

When discussing emergency responses, Grigsby stressed:

“We are more effective when we work together and include all experiences and lessons learned to defeat the pandemic and rebuild our economies. The United States highlights in this regard the important contributions Taiwan could make to these discussions as well as other aspects of COVID-19 response if they were allowed to participate fully as an observer to WHO’s technical work.”

The Executive Board is made up of 34 technically qualified members elected to three-year terms. The annual meeting is held in January so that members can set the agenda for the World Health Assembly (WHA) and resolutions to be considered there.