Taiwan helps African ally
The government will donate US$100,000 in emergency relief aid to Sao Tome and Principe to help the West African ally fight a cholera outbreak, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday. Sao Tome President Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes asked for Taiwan's emergency relief aid during a recent state visit to Taiwan, MOFA officials said. The cholera outbreak has infected more than 600 Sao Tome citizens, 20 of whom have died, the officials added. In addition to the cash donation, the officials said the government will also send a medical team to help contain the outbreak. Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium vibrio cholerae. Symptoms of the disease include vomiting and diarrhea and eventually death if treatment is not given promptly.
Crash injures nine tourists
Nine members of a 24-strong Singaporean tour group were hospitalized yesterday after a car accident that occurred in Nantou County, the Shuili Fire Department reported. The tourists were rushed to the Show Chwan Memorial Hospital in Chushan (竹山), central Taiwan, for treatment after their tour bus rear-ended a van. The nine tourists suffered only minor injuries, with one requiring stitches for lacerations to her head, while the others suffered only bruising, hospital authorities said. The tour, arranged by the Taipei-based Polo Holiday travel agency, was expected to continue with its itinerary later in the day.
Dutch to back WHO bid
The House of Representatives of the Dutch parliament passed a resolution on Tuesday to support Taiwan in its bid to gain observer status in the WHO, the ministry of foreign affairs announced yesterday. Members of the Dutch parliament's second chamber voted 99-51 in support of backing Taiwan's WHO bid during a session on Tuesday to discuss the country's foreign affairs budget for next year, according to the MOFA's press release yesterday. The resolution marks the first time the Dutch parliament has thrown its support behind the bid to enter the health body. The resolution says that in light of bird flu outbreaks in Asia, Taiwan needs to be incorporated into the structural mechanisms of the WHO. The resolution urges the Netherlands' government and the EU to help Taiwan gain WHO observer status.
Charity helps AIDS babies
A local charity organization devoted to AIDS prevention announced yesterday that it has set up a care center for babies born to HIV-infected mothers. The babies will receive treatment for six weeks immediately after birth that will reduce the chances of them developing HIV to below 5 percent, according to Chiu Shu-mei (邱淑美) from the Garden of Mercy Foundation. Any babies that test positive for HIV will be sent to volunteer foster families, Chiu said, adding that anyone interested in joining the program is welcome to call the group on (02) 2370-3579. Chiu said many babies born to HIV-infected mothers do not receive adequate care because the mothers are often in financial difficulty, in jail, or on the run from police for involvement in drug trafficking, drug abuse or organized crime. Unfortunately, many of the babies are abandoned if they are found to be HIV positive, she continued. According to Center for Disease Control figures, 12 children have been confirmed as suffering from AIDS since 1985.