Wed, Apr 04, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Allies to propose Taiwan’s inclusion at WHA in May

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taiwan’s 20 diplomatic allies will make an appeal this week for the nation to be invited to the World Health Assembly (WHA) next month, a source with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.

The government and its diplomatic allies on Saturday — World Health Day — are to issue proposals entitled “Inviting Taiwan to Participate in the WHA as an Observer” to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The government is aware there is little chance that the WHO will grant the country’s request, but it is determined to take every opportunity to fight for its participation in the assembly, the source said.

Last year, the government submitted a similar petition to the WHO only after it was absolutely certain that Taiwan would not receive an invitation, whereas the petition this year is to be submitted a month earlier, the source said.

The nation’s allies are to send the petition via their health or foreign affairs offices, and the WHA Executive Board will decide whether to include the proposal on the assembly’s agenda, the source said.

The nation is leading efforts to open debate on the issue of restoring Taiwan’s observer status at either the Executive Board or the WHA to maximize its diplomatic impact and visibility, the source said.

The government plans to have the WHA representatives of diplomatic allies talk about Taiwan by name at the assembly, and meetings with their governments are under way, the source said.

Tedros has been a vocal proponent of universal health coverage since he took office — a goal that Taiwan shares and has actively promoted since 1995, the source said.

The government wants Tedros to see that Taiwan has real experience in this area and its many substantial contributions distinguishes it from countries that only talk about promoting global health, the source said.

The government is calling on the WHO to demonstrate the high ideals it professes to uphold by its actions, the source said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also launched a series of initiatives to promote the nation’s participation in the WHA.

The ministry on Monday launched the Web site “Leave No One Behind” to promote Taiwan’s contributions to international medical care and public hygiene.

It is also distributing via online media outlets the short film A Perfect Air (阿巒的作文課), which documents the nation’s efforts to treat a Vietnamese girl, Nguyen Thi Loan, who had lymphedema.

The Vietnamese-language film is subtitled in Chinese, English, French, German and Spanish, the ministry said.

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