2007 year Press Release
World Medical Association President Jon Snaedal and his wife Gudrun Karlsdottir arrived in Taiwan Nov. 11 on their first visit to the country, after accepting an invitation from the Taiwan Medical Association and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During his seven-day trip, which is to end Nov. 17, Snaedal was to attend numerous meetings focusing on Taiwan's health policies and its involvement in international health issues.
Taiwan hosts WMA head, ORBIS eye hospital Publication Date:11/16/2007 Section:Front Page By Edwin Hsiao Taiwan Journal
Ambassador-at-Large Wu Yung-tung, a former head of the TMA, said Nov. 13, "We also arranged for Snaedal to visit the Industrial Technology Research Institute and the Medical Electronics and Device Technology Center in the Hsinchu Science Park, as he expressed an interest to see more of Taiwan's biomedical industry and its products." Wu added that after Snaedal returns to his home country of Iceland, the WMA head will write a report on his visit and introduce Taiwan's medical and public-health development to members of the medical association.
Snaedal, born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1950, attended the University of Iceland's Faculty of Medicine. After specializing in geriatrics, medical ethics and dementia, he obtained a license to practice and teach in both Iceland and Sweden. The Icelandic geriatrician, who is also an associate professor at the Geriatric Department at Landspitali University Hospital, Iceland, was elected president of the WMA in 2006, and his term of office, which started in October 2007, is for one year. The WMA used to be based in New York, but since 1974, the group's headquarters have been in Ferney-Voltaire, France.
In other health-related news, the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, a DC-10 jet aircraft outfitted with medical equipment, made a four-day visit to Taiwan Nov. 8 to 11.
The FEH's "Open Your Eyes Tour" not only aims to raise awareness of preventable blindness in children worldwide, but also provides an opportunity for ORBIS supporters and sponsors to see inside the ORBIS FEH and the work that the hospital accomplishes. In this way, more people might be encouraged to support the organization's global sight-saving mission, ORBIS Taiwan said in a Nov. 8 statement. "This is the FEH's fourth visit to Taiwan. The mobile ophthalmic clinic previously visited Taiwan in 1999, 2003 and 2005," Ramona Tzou, executive director of ORBIS Taiwan, said Nov. 13, adding, "On this visit, about 1,300 people who made cash donations to the FEH have visited the plane."
Before visiting a country, the FEH spends time studying the local situation, so it can decide the best medical strategy for the needs of the people. "If no treatment is required, we then use our onboard teaching theater and online medical exchanges to transfer our eye-care expertise to the local doctors," Erwin Temmerman, director of the ORBIS FEH, noted in ORBIS Taiwan's statement. In 2007, he went on to say, the hospital has visited Malaysia, China, India, Syria and Taiwan. After leaving Taiwan, the FEH headed to Hong Kong and Macau, after which it will visit Cambodia in December.
The New York-based ORBIS International is a nonprofit global development organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide. Since 1982, ORBIS programs have enhanced the skills of over 145,000 eye-care professionals in 85 countries and have provided treatment to more than 4.4 million people, according to figures released by ORBIS Taiwan.
ORBIS Taiwan, established in Taipei in 2001, is one of 10 international affiliates of ORBIS. Due to Taiwan's high standard of ophthalmology and economic development, the ORBIS organization decided to open its second fund-raising office in Asia after Hong Kong, said ORBIS Taiwan's website.