Taipei---The 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) will take place on 22-28 May 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland after two consecutive years of virtual annual meetings. Taiwan participated in the WHA as an observer from 2009 to 2016. Since 2017, however, the WHO has denied Taiwan’s access to the WHA due to political factors. On the other hand, international support for Taiwan’s participation in the event is growing year by year. Leaders of 28 countries spoke up in favor of Taiwan in the 74th WHA. Moreover, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon urged Taiwan’s observer status in the WHA in a meeting with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on April 8 this year. It shows that advocating Taiwan’s inclusion has become a global consensus.
The world’s commitment on health and human rights has deepened as a result of the continuous mutation of coronavirus. Representing millions of physicians around the world and 115 national medical associations, the World Medical Association (WMA) held the General Assembly in October 2021 in London, and passed a resolution with an overwhelming vote of 91 to 16 in support of Taiwan’s presence in all of WHO’s activities as well as the International Health Regulations as a full participating party. During the TMA’s presentation, Dr. Tai-Yuan CHIU, President of Taiwan Medical Association spoke to all the delegates from around the world. He pointed out that Taiwan has been sharing its medical technology and is willing to help countries in need. Meanwhile, Taiwan has shared its COVID-19 epidemic prevention strategy and donated PPE to more than 100 foreign countries. However, due to political reasons, 70% rejection rate of Taiwan’s requests to attend WHO’s technical meetings owing to political interference from 2017 to 2021. With this note, Dr. CHIU called on all member states to respect and abide by the WHO Charter regarding the issue of Taiwan’s entry. His gentle but firm delivery won the heart of all member states.
In the face of pandemic, all the members of 20 major healthcare societies work closely, follow the leadership of President Tsai Ing-wen to increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage and provide comprehensive health services in the tiered healthcare model featuring holistic care. The 20 professional associations are committed to safeguarding the health of 23 million people in Taiwan. The outstanding and professional performance of the medical associations draws attention to the world. The WMA sent a letter on April 19 to DG WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that: it is now more than ever necessary to open the doors of the United Nations bodies, especially the World Health Organization. We all have to strive now for inclusion, diplomacy and peaceful cooperation of those who are willing to live in peace. The WMA apprealed to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to support Taiwan, grant Taiwan’s observer status to the WHA based on practice, timely response and profession. Open the doors to Taiwan, allowing Taiwan’ s critical contribution to the global health protection network.
Taiwan has come a long way from dealing with the SARS epidemic, providing state-of-the-art technology, to supplying medical supplies to those in need. When the whole world is focusing on Russian’s invasion of Urkrain, the Taiwan Medical Association took the initiative by handing over six hundred thousand New Taiwan dollars to the WMA Ukraine Medical Help Fund as a friendly gesture to the health workers and refugees in Ukraine. Herein, we reinforce that health is a basic human rights and appeal to the WHO to harness collaboration by breaking political barriers.