Taiwan can expand its international influence by sending more medical missions abroad, Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said yesterday at a press conference held to celebrate the launch of a book about the nation’s medical service in Africa.
Practicing medicine in less-developed countries offers many advantages, such as an increased visibility for the nation and the chance to help doctors become better caregivers, Chiu said.
While he served as the president of Taipei Medical University, Chiu launched 14 short-term medical missions abroad and, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he commissioned two long-term missions to Swaziland and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.
“Besides providing necessary treatment, we educate people on public health, do malaria prevention work and teach nursing students simple skills,” said Chi Li-hsing (祁力行), a doctor who worked in the West African country for two years.
Chi showed pictures of himself in a book titled Love at the Equator, treating patients whose deteriorating health condition resulted from a lack of medical resources, delayed diagnosis and unsanitary water supplies that contain pesticides and bacteria.
“Our vocation enables us to achieve many things,” Chi said, recommending the book to young doctors and fellow physicians.
The book symbolizes the strong bond of brotherhood between Taiwan and Sao Tome and Principe, said Jorge Amado, the country’s ambassador to Taiwan.
Amado said Taiwan has offered assistance in every possible area and he acknowledged the nation’s role as a humanitarian donor.