Sat, Dec 11, 2010 - Page 13 News List

Taiwanese medic returns to Malawi for AIDS work
台大碩士赴馬拉威防治愛滋

Joseph Wu, back row, second right, poses with friends in Malawi, a country he considers his second home.
吳宗樹(後排右二)將馬拉威視為第二故鄉,結交許多好友。

PHOTO: JOSEPH WU 照片:吳宗樹提供

A Taiwanese medic who first went to Malawi as part of his military service has returned to the country to promote AIDS prevention and other public health programs.

Joseph Wu, 29, has a master’s degree in epidemiology, the study of how population and environmental factors contri-bute to public health, from National Taiwan University.

After Taiwan and Malawi broke off diplomatic relations, Wu and his newly-wed wife were dispatched to Malawi to set up AIDS prevention and other public health programs. In Mzuzu, Malawi’s third largest city, where they are the only Taiwanese residents, he has taught widows how to make onion pancakes and shown AIDS patients how to make soybean milk. Wu says he plans to use his medical training to overcome the obstacles of nationality and ethnicity to spread love and compassion.

After completing his training with the International Coope-ration and Development Fund in 2007, Wu was dispatched to a Taiwanese-run medical team in Malawi. On that first trip to Malawi, he served as an overseas volunteer where his main task was to analyze and promote an AIDS database. A year after arriving, Taiwan and Malawi severed diplomatic ties and in the following February the medical team was disbanded and returned to Taiwan.

The medical team, which consisted mainly of staff from Pingtung Christian Hospital, wanted to prevent their years of hard work from going to waste. As a non-governmental organization, the hospital eventually secured funding from Luke International Norway (LIN), a Norwegian organization. In July 2008, shortly after completing his military service, Wu was given responsibility for integrating the AIDS patient information systems at five hospitals in northern Malawi. Since last April, he has also trained locals in his capacity as lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Science at Mzuzu University.

Wu says one of the most memorable moments was doing development work at a community stricken by AIDS. Along with volunteers from Kaohsiung Medical University, he went to a village of widows and taught them how to make Taiwan-style green onion pancakes based on their own oil pancake recipe. They taught the woman how to grow the scallion for their pancakes, and the new dish was well received and soon become a thriving business opportunity.

Wu also transformed a local food factory into a soybean milk factory. He said that soybeans are the best kind of bean, and that soybean milk is both cheap and nutritious. Pingtung Christian Hospital contributed to buying the necessary equipment and then he taught the locals how to make soybean milk. The resulting milk was well received and quickly become popular with the locals.

(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY TAIJING WU)

二十九歲的台大流行病學碩士吳宗樹,在非洲馬拉威服外交替代役,台、馬斷交後,獨自帶著新婚妻子到馬拉威推動愛滋防治等公共衛生,還教寡婦做蔥油餅,帶愛滋病患磨豆漿,吳宗樹夫妻是馬拉威第三大城市僅見的台灣人,他要運用所學,跨越國界、族群等限制,讓旱地開出愛的花朵。

吳宗樹二○○七年國合會訓練完畢,分發到台灣駐馬拉威醫療團,這是他第一次出國到馬拉威,擔任外交替代役男,主要任務是分析與推廣監控愛滋病患者電子資料系統,服務剛滿一年,台灣與馬拉威斷交,隔年二月醫療團撤回台灣。

這支以屏基醫療團隊為主體的團隊,不願多年努力付諸流水,屏基以非政府組織形式,爭取挪威路加機構的金援,二○○八年七月邀請剛退役的吳宗樹擔任專員,負責馬拉威北部五家醫院的電子醫療資訊系統整合,另從去年四月起,在一所大學生物醫學系擔任客座講師,協助當地人力培訓。

最特別是投入愛滋病社區發展工作,他與高醫志工團隊到寡婦村教婦女做台灣的蔥油餅,改良當地傳統的油餅,教導婦女種青蔥,沒想到深受好評,蔥油餅開創了新商機。

此外,他將當地食品工廠轉型生產豆漿,吳宗樹說,黃豆是豆中之王,豆漿是最便宜的營養補充品,屏基協助購買器材,教導當地的愛滋病患生產豆漿,好喝又營養的豆漿立刻打響知名度,深獲好評。

(自由時報記者侯千絹)

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