As the world gradually leaves the COVID-19 pandemic behind and move on to the postpandemic era, if there is one thing that everyone is acutely aware of after 3 years of combatting COVID-19, it is how interconnected and interdependent the world is, and how important it is to ensure global health security. The World Health Organization (WHO) plays a pivotal role in addressing global health challenges. However, the exclusion of Taiwan from this crucial forum undermines the principles of inclusivity, cooperation, and effective global health governance. It is high time to rectify this situation and grant Taiwan its rightful place in the World Health Assembly (WHA).
Taiwan, with its well-established healthcare system and expertise, has made remarkable contributions to global health. Its successful containment of COVID-19 demonstrates the island's capabilities and its commitment to safeguarding public health. Taiwan’s healthcare is also internationally acclaimed. In 2022, Taiwan topped the Numbeo Health Care Index for the fourth year in a row. To maintain its robust domestic healthcare system and further strengthen its health emergency preparedness capabilities, Taiwan continues to refine measures and policies that enhance its healthcare system and empower local governments.
Taiwan has made significant contributions that extend far beyond its borders. Taiwan’s donation of masks, PPEs, medical equipment and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic stands out as a testament to its commitment to global health. Despite facing its own domestic challenges, Taiwan selflessly shared its resources with countries around the world. Through these generous donations, Taiwan has helped safeguard the health and safety of countless frontline healthcare workers. Recently, the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) handed over 145 wheelchairs and over 300 medical equipment donated by Cao Zhong Zhi Foundation to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. This act of kindness and solidarity underscores Taiwan's unwavering dedication to international cooperation and the 40-year friendship between Taiwan and the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Yet, despite its accomplishments and contributions, Taiwan continues to be excluded from the WHA due to political factors. This exclusion not only denies Taiwan a platform to share its experiences but also deprives the global health community of valuable insights and contributions. Taiwan’s participation would enhance the collective knowledge and capacity of the WHA, benefiting all member states and ultimately leading to improved global health outcomes. Moreover, by denying Taiwan's participation, the WHO contradicts its own mandate and fails to fulfill its mission of promoting health for all. Inclusivity and non-discrimination should guide the organization's actions, regardless of political considerations.
It is essential for the WHO to recognize Taiwan's accomplishments, expertise, and the benefits of its participation in the WHA. Taiwan’s inclusion would strengthen the organization's legitimacy, promote global health security, and enhance collaboration among nations. By embracing Taiwan as a valuable partner, we can foster a more inclusive and resilient global health system that truly works for the benefit of all humanity. Once again, Taiwan urges its international friends and partners to continue to support its participation in the WHO to enable Taiwan to contribute more for the global health community.
Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis
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