Tuesday, May 8, 2007

We Are Not Asking Too Much…

“…lack of WHO participation results in Taiwan's inability to effectively share its health-related experiences, manpower, and other resources with the international community. Subjecting the Taiwanese people to a form of "health apartheid" is not only morally wrong but also inconsistent with the ideals and commitment that are the very foundation of the entire WHO system. This de facto health care segregation seriously weakens the international disease prevention network.”

- Hou Sheng-mou, Minister of Health, Taiwan.

On August 17, 1999, an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale devastated Turkey, yet our experienced medical teams were not allowed to assist the rescue efforts; this would not have been the case if Taiwan was able to work through the WHO to dispatch medical aid.

The US Population Crisis Committee has twice rated Taiwan's family planning program the best of all programs among the developing countries efforts. However, Taiwan is shut out of the World Fertility Survey, the Demographic Health Survey, and other related medical data-gathering and analysis efforts that are under the auspices of the WHO.

Taiwan is also excluded from the United Nations Single Convention on Drugs-resulting in a significant gap in the global tracking of the flow and quantity of controlled drugs.

Taiwan implemented a multi-stage program for separating the prescription and distribution of drugs in 1997. This policy was praised as a "textbook example" by the Asian Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, Taiwan's forced exclusion from the WHO continues to hinder Taiwan's ability to share its related experiences from this successful multi-stage program.

Despite having set up a comprehensive surveillance and reporting system for adverse drug reactions, Taiwan is excluded from contributing its experiences to the WHO Collaborating Center for International Drug Monitoring.

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