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Mon, May 14, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan WHO entry lobbyhard at work in Geneva


Taiwan has launched a new drive this year to be recognized as an observer at the World Health Organization (WHO) on the eve of the organization's annual assembly in Geneva from May 14 to 22. This is the fifth year in a row that Taiwan has lobbied for WHO observer status with the assistance of its allies and concerted efforts from the government and the private medical sector in Taiwan.

Under the banner of "Dare to Care, Taiwan Cares," the Taiwan group, led by Lee Ming-liang (李明亮), director-general of the Department of Health, began lobbying in late April in the Swiss city where the WHO headquarters are located.

According to officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the WHO steering committee is scheduled today to discuss a proposal submitted by six allies who support Taiwan's bid to become an observer and have asked that the issue be put on this year's agenda.

The six allies are Panama, Palau, Sao Tome and Principe, El Salvador, Honduras and Senegal.

The WHO assembly is expected to make a decision this afternoon on whether to include the proposal in the assembly agenda, foreign ministry officials said

Despite the fact that all similar proposals in the four previous years have been shot down by Beijing, a WHO member, Tai-wan's voice is beginning to be heard. More and more international organizations have been made aware of Taiwan's willingness to cooperate with health officials around the world for equal access to medical-related information and resources, health department officials said.

Taiwan has been barred from attending any WHO activities since it was forced out of the organization in 1972, a year after mainland China took over Taiwan's seat in the UN.

The WHO is a UN affiliate dedicated to upgrading world health standards and technology.

Under President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) directive, the Cabinet formed a task force in April which pooled the resources of various ministries to strengthen Taiwan's WHO entry bid.

The task force included participants from the public and private sectors.

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