Exclusion from WHA would be ‘deeply regrettable,’ ‘dissatisfactory’

Excluding Taiwan from the 70th World Health Assembly, set for May 22-31 in Geneva, would be deeply regrettable and dissatisfactory, while compromising global health promotion and disease control programs, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said in response to concerns the nation has not received an invitation to the event.

Global health knows no borders and can only be safeguarded through comprehensive collaboration, Chen said May 9 at a news conference in Taipei City. Possessing wide-ranging health care and medical research expertise, Taiwan is an indispensable partner for the international community in advancing such efforts, he added.

In a statement released the same day, the Office of the President said that excluding Taiwan from the assembly�the decision-making body of the World Health Organization�contravenes the founding principles of the WHO by infringing on the people's right to health. This unfair move would create a gap in the global health network and have unpredictable consequences on disease control initiatives.

Similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a written statement also issued May 9 urged the WHO to recognize the widespread international support for Taiwan's participation in the assembly. The nation has made numerous significant contributions to global medical programs and would be better able to support the U.N. 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through involvement in the WHA, the ministry stated.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Minister Chen will lead a delegation to Geneva to participate in activities on the sidelines of the WHA. The delegation will meet with international health officials and representatives from nongovernmental organizations to exchange views on global medical issues and trends.

Taiwan was invited in 2009 by the WHO to take part as an observer in the annual WHA following 38 years of exclusion. The country has since shared its extensive experience in a range of areas like providing universal health care coverage and managing outbreaks of highly contagious diseases. This involvement is widely recognized as helping strengthen global disease prevention and safeguard the health of Taiwan's 23 million people.

President Tsai Ing-wen has issued a series of tweets in recent weeks outlining the significance of the nation's continued participation in the body. In addition to thanking the international community for its support, she highlighted Taiwan's commitment to assisting other countries in tackling major medical challenges and promoting health care programs around the world.

Taiwan should not be excluded from WHA this year for any reason. Health issues don't stop at border & Taiwan's role is impt to global health, Tsai tweeted April 29. On her Twitter page, the president has also shared links to Leave No One Behind: World Health Security Needs Taiwan, Taiwan Needs the WHO, an online gallery of photographs spotlighting decades of contributions by Taiwan to strengthening international health, as well as Second Chance, a short film produced by the MOFA focusing on one of the millions of success stories resulting from the nation's international medical contributions.

Source: Taiwan Today