Mon, May 19, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Leading medical organizations support new bid

SUBSTANTIAL MOVES At least four prominent international health bodies have promised to back Taiwan's bid to win new status from the WHO

By Melody Chen and Wang Ping-yu  /  STAFF REPORTERS IN GENEVA

Taiwan, in its bid to obtain observer status in the World Health Organization (WHO), has gained unprecedented support from leading international medical organizations, officials preparing for the World Healthy Assembly (WHA) said in Geneva on Saturday.

At least four medical associations have promised to make substantial moves to back Taiwan's application for WHA observership, said Peter Chang (張武修), advisor to Taiwan's Department of Health (DOH) based in Geneva.

The World Medical Association (WMA), the International Pharmaceutical Federation (IPF), the International Council of Nursing (ICN) and the International Pediatrics Association (IPA) all support Taiwan's bid for WHA observer status, said Chang.

Chang briefed a roomful of officials from Taiwan on the progress medical professionals and diplomats have made in soliciting support from major international medical associations during a dinner gathering in Geneva's Hilton hotel.

The WMA, which convened its 164th council session in Divonne-les-Bains, France, from May 15 to 18, issued a press release on May 16 to repeat its call for the WHO to receive Taiwan as an observer.

The WMA represents more than eight million physicians around the world and has 92 member countries. Wu Yung-tung (吳運東), president of the Taiwan Medical Association, one branch of the WMA, also attended the council session.

The press release said the WMA "called for an end to Taiwan's exclusion from the WHO, citing the SARS outbreak as an example of essential international cooperation."

The press release quoted Dr. Delon Human, secretary-general of the WMA, as saying that "SARS illustrates the importance of everyone being able to work with and receive support from the WHO."

"Taiwan is being affected by SARS and the concern at the moment is that the Taiwanese medical profession is excluded from the international medical community and from important international public health strategy networks," said Human.

"We should do nothing to prevent WHO scientists from liaising with medical professionals in Taiwan and providing them with basic communication. And the way to do this is to allow Taiwan observer status at the WHO," Human noted.

It was during a luncheon talk by invitation of the WMA that US Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson expressed the US' support for Taiwan's observer bid in Geneva after Taiwan's application was rejected last year.

Besides, IPF President Gean Parrot and IPF Chief Executive Officer Ton Hoek will both attend a SARS seminar held by the World Alliance for Health Care (WAHC) today to give their support for Taiwan's observership bid, Chang said.

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