Tuesday, May 8, 2007

What Taiwan Has Achieved

“The people of Taiwan deserve the same level of public health as citizens of every nation on earth, and we support them in their efforts to achieve it.”

— Tommy Thompson, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human
In 2000, the Economist of the U.K. rated the medical practice in Taiwan as being second among all the developed countries, next only to Sweden. Taiwan has established a universal health insurance system, the first in Asia, with a 97% coverage and 70% approval rate.

In 2001, there were 18,265 health care institutions in Taiwan and one physician for every 649 people, one dentist for every 2,570, one nurse for every 280, and 30 hospital beds for every 10,000. Taiwan has established a respectable network of disease treatment, reporting, and medical research facilities.

Taiwan enjoys one of the highest levels of life expectancy in Asia. At present, the life expectancy at birth is 73 years for males and 78 for females. Taiwan's maternal and infant mortality rates are only 6.9 per 10,000 and 6.0 per 1,000, respectively-comparable to those of Western countries.

Taiwan has eradicated infectious diseases such as plague, smallpox, rabies, and malaria. No new poliomyelitis cases have been reported since 1983. Taiwan has also been the first country to provide children nationwide with free hepatitis B vaccinations and, in the early 80s, established effective monitoring and control systems to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Taiwan's active pharmaceutical industry is exploring new drugs for cancers and viral diseases as well as chronic diseases such as cardiovascular illness.

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