Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Academics slam WHO


Scholars accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of being blinded by politics, reviewed Taiwan's bidding strategy to enter the WHO as a full member and entertained the thought of giving Taiwan an image of a "bad boy" in a forum yesterday.
Lamenting Taiwan's setback in its WHO membership bid, scholars who attended the forum organized by Taiwan Thinktank to review Taiwan's failed membership bid strategy said the WHO has become a political organization instead of an organization "providing leadership on global health matters."

"The WHO yielded to China's political pressure in ignoring Taiwan's bid once again and put global health in jeopardy by leaving Taiwan out of the global health system," said Lo Chi cheng, a professor at Soochow University.

"Taiwan is not poor enough, not sick enough and not bad enough. And Taiwan has no courage to violate the WHO regulations," said Chiu Ya-wen, a researcher at the National Health Research Institute, who half-jokingly described Taiwan's current situation as "Three Nots and one No."

"As the old saying goes, 'noisy children get the candy.' Maybe we should be like North Korea, creating trouble and being a bad boy so the international community will raise its eyebrows," said political commentator Paul Lin, tongue in cheek.

Taiwan should ask for its international allies to try to invalidate a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed by the WHO Secretariat and China in 2005, under which Taiwan's medical experts have to file applications five weeks in advance for attending WHO technical meetings and have them approved by China's health department, and Taiwan medical personnel must attend WHO activities in private capacities and should be identified as "coming from Taiwan, China, " said David Huang, an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica's Institute of European and American Studies (IEAS).

Taiwan should also ask its allies to condemn the WHO secretariat for not complying with the rules of procedure by rejecting Taiwan's membership bid, Huang said.

Taiwan should also ask for an explanation from the WHO on the MOU and the improper handling of Taiwan's bid by the Secretariat, Lo Chi-cheng added.

In the future, Taiwan should develop a new scheme on how to accommodate three proposals -- the bid for WHA observer status, the bid for full WHO membership, and "meaningful participation" in WHO activities -- on the table, said Lin Cheng-yi, a research fellow at Academia Sinica's IEAS.

"The strategy for Taiwan's United Nations bid in September should also be included in the consideration, " Lin said.

No comments: