Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Joint action can fight rabies

The recent headlines around the re-emergence of rabies, the world’s deadliest disease, in Taiwan only serve to reinforce that, without joint collaboration between animal and human health agencies, government, educators and the public, it will be impossible to return the island to being rabies-free.

Research in the field of rabies control is currently doing some amazing things, from increasing prevention through vaccination, to improving the efficacy of prophylaxis for bite victims. Progress is even being made towards the holy grail of rabies research: therapy for those unlucky enough to contract the disease.

However, none of this will have the desired impact if complacency is allowed to take root. Educators must build rabies awareness into curricula, health agencies must invest in critical diagnosis and post-treatment infrastructure, and local authorities must step up surveillance and adopt humane methods of dealing with high-risk animal populations.

Get these factors right and Taiwan can defeat rabies once more: It is nothing more than its people — and animals — deserve.

Charles Rupprecht

Director of research, Global Alliance for Rabies Control

Dependents face legal issue

I have been living in Taiwan since 1998 with my wife and family and I would like to draw your attention to a matter of considerable interest within the international community. Some of these issues are currently being discussed in the legislature.

I received my Alien Permanent Resident Card (APRC) in 2006 based on seven years of continuous professional employment in the information and technology business. My wife and three sons all have Alien Residency Certificates (ARC), dependent on my APRC. My daughter is 22 and studies at the Taipei National School of Arts. She has an ARC based on her studies.

There are several situations involving long-term foreign residents that often challenge families. One that will come up for consideration in the legislature is a proposal to facilitate the APRC application process for spouses and minor dependents of APRC holders.

However, there is another issue of widespread concern among the international community. This is the situation that faces young adults over 20 years of age who came to Taiwan as minor dependents of a parent who is an APRC holder and those who were born in Taiwan to parents with APRCs, but then turned 20.

Until they turn 20 these individuals can stay legally in Taiwan as dependents of their parents. However, once they reach 20 no regulation exists that would allow them to stay in Taiwan legally, even though they spend most or all of their lives here and may not have significant contacts abroad.

It is not clear how far along discussions of this necessary reform are within the legislature. However, this is an issue of considerable importance to all people living in Taiwan, foreign residents and citizens.

Ralph Jensen

Greater Kaoshiung

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