The Formosan Medical Association and other medical groups are pushing for Taiwan to take part in the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an official member and not just an observer.
US Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon on Friday urged WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to grant Taiwan observer status when the WHA, the decisonmaking body of the WHO, meets next month.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is very active in connecting with the international community, which has praised Taiwan’s pandemic response,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator and physician Chiu Tai-yuan (邱泰源) said on Saturday. “The government should leverage this in its efforts to get into the WHA.”
Photo: AFP / WHO / Christopher Black
Support has been expressed within the World Medical Association for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the WHA and WHO, Chiu said, adding that the World Medical Association passed a resolution on the issue at an assembly last year.
The Taiwan Association of Family Medicine, the International College of Surgeons’ Taiwan Section and other Taiwanese medical organizations could also be instrumental in garnering support for Taiwan’s efforts to be an observer at the WHA, given the organizations’ strong international ties, he said.
“More than 20 of these organizations are to hold a joint press conference before the WHA,” Chiu said. “The Formosan Medical Association also plans to hold an international seminar on the sidelines of this year’s assembly to connect with doctors from around the world.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the international community has became aware of China’s obstruction of Taiwan at the WHA, and more people are beginning to speak up for Taiwan, Chiu said, adding that Taiwan needs those voices in the international community to speak on its behalf.
The issue of Taiwan’s participation could be brought up each year in January when the WHO Executive Board meets to decide the yearly agenda for the WHA, he added.
Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan director Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) said that the support of allies and like-minded nations is crucial to Taiwan achieving observer status at the WHA.
From 2009 to 2016, Taiwan participated as an observer in the WHA under the name “Chinese Taipei” when relations between Taipei and Beijing were better. Since 2017, the WHO has refused to invite Taiwan to attend the assembly due to opposition from China.
Additional reporting by CNA
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