Sun, May 28, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Foreign spouse families attend education session

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

More than 50 families that include foreign spouses were invited to attend an education session yesterday designed to raise their health awareness.

The session, hosted by the Taipei Medical University Hospital, included the hospital's pediatricians, dentists, surgeons and doctors specializing in family medicine, who took questions from participants.

The answers were translated into Bahasa Indonesia and Vietnamese.

Lai Man-kuang (賴縵光), a pediatrician, said some foreign mothers tend to be less sensitive to the importance of child development than locals, but are more eager than locals to know about nursing and nutrition.

"But the language problem has prevented most of them from seeking medical attention," Lai said. "They often have to be accompanied by other family members."

Chen Ching-hsiang (陳清祥), a surgeon, indicated that most of the overseas female spouses have not been adequately educated about the importance of cervical examinations. The idea should be promoted further, he said.

Organizers also prepared traditional food from Vietnam and Indonesia and educated participants about the concept of a balanced diet.

Statistics from the Ministry of Interior show that in 2004, one in five married couples included a female spouse from overseas. Last year, 20 percent of families in Taipei City were formed through marriages between locals and foreign female spouses.

Meanwhile, the Taoyuan County Government yesterday sponsored a special training program for volunteers interested in helping foreign spouses of Taiwan citizens to adapt to local customs and living conditions more quickly and smoothly.

The training program for aspiring volunteers took place at Yijen Hospital in the northern county's Yangmei (楊梅) Township.

The program yesterday included courses for foreign spouses on language study, local customs and lifestyles, AIDS prevention and bird flu.

There were also courses to enhance foreign spouses' awareness of the hazards of smoking and their knowledge about foodstuff labeling.

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