Mon, Nov 18, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Medical team to continue serving in the Gambia

Staff writer, with CNA

A Taiwanese medical charity yesterday said that it would continue to provide services in the Gambia even after the West African nation announced its decision to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps (TRMPC) sent a team of doctors to the Gambia in 2003, 2010 and most recently in August to offer free medical care.

Volunteer Hsu Ya-hui was on the latest mission.

She was impressed that many locals traveled from afar to Banjul, the capital, braving long lines in sweltering heat to receive treatment.

The team of doctors and nurses treated more than 4,600 patients in 15 days. Many of them began lining up the night before.

The people they treated included Gambian Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy, who received acupuncture at her residence.

Lee Szu-ching (李思靜), a TRMPC director, said that the charity has sent medical teams to Africa every year in the last several years. When heading to a country which does not have official ties with Taiwan, she said, it usually takes longer to get a permit to operate a temporary clinic and to clear equipment and medical supplies through customs.

Despite Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s statement on Thursday that the country would sever its official ties with Taiwan, TRMPC will not discontinue its work there.

TRMPC is a non-profit, non-government organization founded by Liu Chi-chun (劉啟群) in 1995. It began to send missions to third-world countries in 1998.

One of its teams is currently in the central Philippines to help treat people injured when the area was struck by Typhoon Haiyan earlier this month.

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