Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letters: Participation in the WHO

Taiwan is the only country excluded from the UN and its subsidiary, the WHO. Taiwan is also the only ally of the US that Washington does not formally US recognize. Recently, President Chen was refused a stopover in New York and Los Angeles. This was caused by China trying to isolate Taiwan. I wish China could isolate Taiwan from SARS, bird flu or other epidemics instead.

Taiwan has a population of 23 million. Some 400,000 foreign nationals including tens of thousands of Americans are living there. The health of these people is at a high risk if Taiwan is excluded from the WHO under the current threat of bird flu. The world cannot afford any gap in its pandemic surveillance and response network, in the same manner as New Orleans cannot afford another breached levee.

Taiwan has only modest requests. It wants to join the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer, not a full member. It wants to participate meaningfully in WHO technical meetings, the outbreak alert and response network, and the international health regulations mechanism.

If Taiwan is admitted in the WHA, it would provide its medical expertise and technical services to the world community. We sincerely appreciate the resolution initiated by US Senator Robert Schuler to support Taiwan's participation in the WHO. This resolution is a matter of life and health.

Charles Hong

Columbus, Ohio

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