Taiwan to advertise its medical power on WHA sidelines

Taipei, Taiwan has not been invited to the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) again this year, but it still intends to have a presence on the sidelines of the event in Geneva, including advertising its strength in the medical field.

The Taipei-based International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF), a government-funded agency that runs foreign aid programs, will hold a presentation on Taiwan's cooperation projects related to public health in Geneva on May 23, Lee Pai-po (???), the agency's deputy secretary-general, told CNA on Friday.

The WHA is being held from May 21 to 26.

At the planned event, TaiwanICDF will share how it helped two allies, Belize and Saint Kitts and Nevis, establish basic facilities to prevent and control chronic kidney disease, which people in those countries are prone to, Lee said.

His agency helped train local medical care personnel and promoted ideas for kidney disease prevention with assistance from Taiwanese hospitals, with the goal of lowering the disease's prevalence in those countries, Lee said.

TaiwanICDF is also assisting Paraguay, another of Taiwan's 19 diplomatic allies, in efforts to improve its medical data management and overall medical services, he added.

Lee said Taiwan will invite health officials from allied countries and countries friendly to Taiwan to the presentation, which he hopes will let the world know Taiwan's capabilities in promoting public health and preventing chronic diseases.

Taiwan is eager to share with other countries its expertise and know-how in the establishment of medical data systems because of Taiwan's competitiveness in that field, Lee said.

The publicity blitz is part of Taiwan's ongoing campaign to secure the support of the international community to help it overcome China's obstruction and participate in the WHA.

Taiwan has made efforts to join the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1997, without success, but it was invited to attend the WHA, the decision-making body of the international health care system, as an observer from 2009 to 2016 when relations with China were better.

But Beijing has taken a hardline stance against Taiwan since the Democratic Progressive Party took power in May 2016, cutting off official contacts and making it harder for Taiwan to participate in international organizations.

Last year, the WHO, under pressure from China, withheld its invitation for Taiwan to participate in the 70th WHA. This year, Taiwan was kept out of the assembly for the second year in a row due to China's obstruction.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel