Taiwan is assisting in the establishment of a liver transplant center in Guatemala, as part of the nation’s efforts to provide much-needed medical care to its diplomatic allies, Florencia Hsieh (謝妙宏), deputy director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, told a regular news briefing yesterday.
Hsieh said the liver transplant center will be set up in the National Cancer Institute, the only public hospital in Guatemala providing cancer care.
Once the center opens, it will be the first medical center capable of performing liver transplantation surgery in Central America, Hsieh said.
Taiwan has diplomatic relations with all the countries in the region except for Costa Rica.
To prepare for the establishment of the liver transplant center, 13 Guatemalan physicians completed a year-long internship program for clinical practice in liver transplantation that started in October 2011 at the Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, with the ministry providing scholarships, Hsieh said.
They were trained at the hospital in plastic surgery, anesthesiology, pediatrics and liver transplant surgery, the ministry said.
The government will equip Guatemala with the necessary medical equipment to aid local doctors in the country in performing liver transplants, Hsieh added.
Meanwhile, a baby who needs a liver transplant to survive was flown to Taiwan on Friday last week for treatment and an operation that will be performed free of charge next week by a surgical team at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Hsieh said.
The surgery would have cost US$50,000, she said.