Sat, Jul 10, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan among the healthiest countries: DOH

CNA , Taipei

Taiwan should be ranked among the A-grade nations around the world if health criteria of the World Health Organization are used to gauge the country's health situation, a source from the Department of Health reported yesterday.

Taiwan's overall health situation is at the same level as those of 35 countries that were rated as A-grade nations by the WHO, mainly in terms of the mortality rates among children aged under five and among people aged between 15 and 59, Lin Yi-ping (林宜平), a researcher with the DOH bureau of health promotion said.

The 35 countries that were ranked by the WHO as the A-grade nations are all considered developed countries. Among them, only Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Brunei are countries in the West Pacific area, according to Lin.

Since Taiwan is not a WHO member, the island is not included on the WHO listing, Lin said. If Taiwan were included, Lin went on, the country would be ranked between 30 and 40 -- on a par with 35 other A-grade nations.

Meanwhile, countries that were ranked as B-grade are considered to be developing countries, Lin said, adding that Taiwan's neighbors, including China, South Korea and Indonesia, are among this group.

According to the WHO listing, Japan is the healthiest country in the world, with low mortality rates and long average life expectancy. Japan has even established a health bureau exclusively for senior citizens as its population is increasingly grey, Lin said, adding that Taiwan should emulate Japan in this effort.

Singapore, ranked 10th on the WHO list, is also worthy of emulation by Taiwan because of its sound health policies, particularly measures to boost the health of senior citizens in recent years, Lin said.

Lin said that in a study she conducted, she found that the mortality rate among the male population aged between 15 and 59 is much higher than that among the female population in Taiwan, although the ratio is not as high as that of South Korea, where the ratio is 2-to-1.

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