Globalization is increasing interdependence between countries. With the outbreak of SARS and the tsunami in South Asia, the idea and principle that medical health transcends national boundaries and no gaps can be allowed in international disease prevention has become widely accepted around the world. The people of Taiwan wish to actively participate in international medical systems and their operations.
To be a useful member of the global community, Taiwan actively cooperates on issues of international health and unfailingly provides emergency humanitarian medical aid despite obstruction and boycotts by some nations. We send medical teams across the world and have never been absent from any large-scale international emergency, winning recognition and acclaim from the international community. Combined public and private sector contributions to medical and health emergency aid projects over the past decade stand at over US$450 million. This sum does not include volunteer medical care and other services that are of incalculable value.
In view of the need to further integrate the manpower and equipment available for international health assistance, the Taiwan International Health Operations Center (TIHOC)Xa unified task force covering various government departments and agenciesXwas established in 2004. TIHOC was later reorganized as Taiwan International Health Action (TaiwanIHA) to be more streamlined yet more extensive and more effective in coordinating with other international humanitarian aid institutions on medical and health cooperation and emergency medical assistance.
Since TaiwanIHA and its predecessors inception, joint efforts with related agencies have had several concrete achievements:
- Donated nearly US$200 million of government and private sector funds to people in stricken areas after the 2004 South Asian tsunami disaster
- Cooperated with internationally renowned NGOs on post-disaster recovery and reconstruction by sending gynecologists from Taiwan to the Maldives to assist with local medical needs<
- Sponsored and conducted such gatherings as the Conference on Surgical Care and Practice and the Expert Review and Meetings on Public Health Impact of Tsunami Disaster
- Conducted high-level medical care training programs, and held the Asia Pacific Health Forum and Global Health Leaders Forum, etc.
- Sent humanitarian aid from both the public and private sector to disaster areas in Pakistan and India after the 2005 earthquake
Although TaiwanIHA only formally started to operate in February 2006, it has already been involved with early response emergency medical aid in the Philippines after the mudslide disaster of February 18. In the beginning of April, a TaiwanIHA delegation is set to participate in the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition. Later that month, TaiwanIHA will assist the Taiwan Hospital Association in hosting the 2006 International Hospital Federation Asian Pacific Regional Conference.