2006 year Press Release
Taiwan News, Staff Reporter
Taiwan adopts health policy outlined at WHA, says CDC Nation seen showing willingness to protect the health of world community
2006-05-16 Page 3
By Jenny W. Hsu
Published: 2006-05-16 08:41:46
The Center for Disease Control yesterday announced that Taiwan is among one of the first countries to adopt the International Health Regulations, even though Taiwan was not one of the signatories to the agreement.
CDC Director Steve Kuo noted that Taiwan is not an official member of the World Health Organization, but said that the country will demonstrate its willingness and ability to safeguard the health of the international community by following the new protocols outlined in the updated version of the regulations, passed by the World Health Assembly in 2005.
Due to the looming global threat of avian flu, WHO has encouraged all member-states to adopt the policy in a timely manner, said Kuo. He added that many countries such as the United States, Japan, and some European Union nations have also strongly recommended to Taiwan's CDC that it abide by the new policy, despite the country's exlusion from the health body.
According to the official WHO Web site, the broadened purpose and scope of the 2005 package of regulations is to "prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade." The regulations have also updated the provisions on routine public health measures at points of entry, including ground crossings.
To adhere to the principles laid out by the measures, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has amended the country's existing "Point of Entry Quarantine Regulations," Kuo said.
As of yesterday, all outbound flights or ship cargo services must be cleared of a series of communicable diseases, including avian flu and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
"In the past, the regulations only covered yellow fever, cholera, and plague," said Peter Chang (張武修), director-general of the DOH's Bureau of International Cooperation. "However, with so many newly emerging diseases, some which might still be unidentified, it is necessary to expand the coverage of our inspections."
Chang was unsure, however, exactly how many communicable diseases would be monitored under the new regulations, saying there might be eight or nine that would draw scrutiny.
Chang acknowledged that Taiwan's efforts may not be recognized by the WHO, but said it was a goodwill gesture to let the global community know of Taiwan's readiness to contribute to the well-being of the world.
Chang disclosed that since the International Health Regulations do not become mandatory until 2007, Taiwan would still accept flights and cargo services from countries that continued to follow the old protocols.
Both Chang and Kuo denied that the adoption of the new regulations is a strategic maneuver to help the country in its 10th attempt in as many years to become part of the WHO at next weeks' WHA meeting held in Geneva.
"However, just like we are openly embracing the new health regulations with open arms, we hope WHO would also welcome us with the same courtesy," Kuo said.