Mon, Oct 23, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Global Health Forum opens, drawing an international crowd

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Global Health Forum in Taiwan, organized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, opened in Taipei yesterday, attracting 58 experts from 35 nations and hundreds of participants.

The theme of this year’s forum is “Inspiration, Action, and Movement: Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs],” echoing the UN’s 2015 announcement of the SDGs, a set of 17 targets and 169 indicators to improve the health and well-being of people worldwide.

At the opening ceremony, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said Taiwan faced many challenges in the past but had a good record of extraordinary results in public health.

Since the National Health Insurance (NHI) began operating in 1995, every Taiwanese, regardless of background, has been able to enjoy equal access to medical treatment, he said.

Though the nation’s health expenditure per capita only accounts for 6.1 percent of GDP, Taiwan has universal healthcare coverage and the system’s satisfactory rating has always been more than 80 percent, reflecting the overall good results of Taiwan’s public health and medical system, he said.

The 2017 Global Access to Healthcare Index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked people’s access to healthcare in Taiwan third in the Asia-Pacific region and 14th in the world, Chen said.

The NHI system has an “NHI card” that serves as a healthcare identification card for people in accessing medical treatment, the “Medi-Cloud System” maintains patients’ medical records to reduce repetitive prescriptions and examinations, and the “My Health Bank” allows patients to review information about their health conditions and access their medical records, Chen said.

With society aging rapidly, the Long-Term Care Services Act (長期照護服務法) was amended this year and the Long-term Care Services Program 2.0 has been implemented, Chen said, adding that the government hopes to cooperate with the private sector in forming a long-term care system that allows older people to remain in their communities.

Taiwan’s location makes it suitable to cooperate with other nations of the Asia-Pacific region on public health and medical care, he said.

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), the keynote speaker at the forum, said the community-based health system in Taiwan includes nearly 500 hospitals and 20,000 clinics, and combined with several administrative systems, it has become a localized and integrated public health and medical care network.

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