Sat, Nov 17, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Chen asks World Medical Association for help at WHO

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday called on World Medical Association president Jon Snaedal to "lend Taiwan a helping hand" with the nation's request to participate in the WHO as a full member.

After 10 years of failed attempts to win observer status at the World Health Assembly, Taiwan's application was excluded from the assembly's agenda this year.

The exclusion of Taiwan from the WHO is a "loss to the world," considering the nation's achievements in health care and medicine, Chen said.

He said that the world was losing out because of the nation's exclusion from the WHO, preventing the organization from being truly global.

Snaedal, who arrived in the country last Sunday for a seven-day visit, met Chen in the presidential office yesterday.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) that China and the WHO Secretariat signed in 2005 ignored requests by the US and European countries that Taiwan be granted "meaningful participation" in the world body, Chen said.

When the MOU was made public, "the Taiwanese public felt duped" and realized that the nation had been blocked from any real participation at the WHO, Chen said.

Chen said the MOU stipulated that Taiwan's health and medical experts must file applications five weeks ahead of any WHO conference and can only attend any WHO events if China approves Taiwan's application.

"In addition, the MOU requires approval from China before medical experts can be sent to Taiwan in the case of a serous epidemic here," Chen said.

Blocking Taiwan from participation in the WHO not only prevents the nation from contributing with its own medical expertise, it denies the Taiwanese public the right to help from global medical efforts and disease-combating initiatives, Chen said.

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