The nation’s persistently low birth rate will have a negative impact on its pediatric services industry, a panel of pediatrics said yesterday on the eve of Children’s Day, urging the government to pay more attention to the children’s medical care system.
Children Health Promotion Society president Lee Hung-chang (李宏昌) said the nation’s birth rate has hit a new low — 1.05 children are born per woman, the lowest in the world.
Such figures could trigger a wave of closure for many sectors, including kindergartens, babysitting services and pediatrics. Major hospitals and the government could downsize their budget for children’s medical services because of the small number of people served, he said.
Speaking at the newly opened National Taiwan University (NTU) Children’s Hospital yesterday, Lee said that while the building currently houses several playrooms and children’s libraries, “sooner or later the hospital, for the sake of profit, might have to convert spaces into adult ailment clinics or a Starbucks.”
Medical school graduates are also becoming disinterested in pediatrics, he said. Each year, the Department of Health sets the hiring cap of new pediatricians at 240, but in reality, only about 84 recruits sign up. Even big hospitals, such as NTU hospital, MacKay Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung hospital, are barely scraping by.
Lu Hong-chi (呂鴻基), a pediatrician for five decades and a leading figure in local pediatrics, said the government cannot afford to take children’s health lightly because “children are the future.”
Citing Article 1 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines “children” as persons up to the age of 18, 23.3 percent of Taiwan’s population are considered children, Lu said.
Of that number, between 20 percent and 25 percent suffer from some form of chronic illness, he said, stressing the importance of pediatric care.
Lu said Taiwan should follow Finland and Canada’s example of offering pediatric care at little to no cost because “many parents of small children are young people who cannot afford expensive healthcare for their offspring.”
NTU pediatrician Lu Meng-you (盧孟佑) said children with cancer usually have a better survival rate than adults and a higher chance of becoming contributing members of society.
By pouring more resources into children’s medical care now, the government and society as a whole would save money in the long run, he said.
TRICKED INTO MOVING: Local governments in China do not offer any help, and Taiwanese there must compete with Chinese in an unfamiliar setting, a researcher said Beijing’s incentives for Taiwanese businesspeople to invest in China are only intended to lure them across the Taiwan Strait, after which they receive no real support, an expert said on Sunday. Over the past few years, Beijing has been offering a number of incentives that “benefit Taiwanese in name, while benefiting China in reality,” a cross-strait affairs expert said on condition of anonymity. Strategies such as the “31 incentives” are intended to lure Taiwanese talent, capital and technology to help address China’s economic issues while also furthering its “united front” efforts, they said. Local governments in China do not offer much practical
Police have detained a Taoyuan couple suspected of over the past two months colluding with human trafficking rings and employment scammers in Southeast Asia to send nearly 100 Taiwanese jobseekers to Cambodia. At a media briefing in Taipei yesterday, the Criminal Investigation Bureau presented items seized from the couple, including alleged victims’ passports, forged COVID-19 vaccination records, mobile phones, bank documents, checks and cash. The man, surnamed Tsai (蔡), and his girlfriend, surnamed Tsan (詹), were taken into custody last month, after police at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport stopped four jobseekers from boarding a flight to Phnom Penh, said Dustin Lee (李泱輯),
PUBLIC POLL: More than half believe Chinese drills would make Taiwanese less willing to unify with China, while 36 percent said an invasion was highly unlikely Half of Taiwanese support independence, according to the results of a poll released yesterday by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation, which also found that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) support rating fell by 7 percentage points. Fifty percent of respondents supported independence, 25.7 percent supported maintaining the “status quo” and 11.8 percent supported unification, while 12.1 percent had no opinion, did not know or refused to answer, the foundation said. Support for independence is the new mainstream opinion, regardless of which party is in power, foundation chairman Michael You (游盈隆) said. Insinuations that Taiwan wants to maintain the “status quo” are a fabrication that
BILINGUAL PLAN: The 17 educators were recruited under a program that seeks to empower Taiwanese, the envoy to the Philippines said The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines on Thursday hosted a send-off event for the first group of English-language teachers from the country who were recruited for a Ministry of Education-initiated program to advance bilingual education in Taiwan. The 14 teachers and three teaching assistants are part of the Taiwan Foreign English Teacher Program, which aims to help find English-language instructors for Taiwan’s public elementary and junior-high schools, the office said. Seventy-seven teachers and 11 teaching assistants from the Philippines have been hired to teach in Taiwan in the coming school year, office data showed. Among the first group is 57-year-old