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Asking WHO to Give Taiwan a Seat The Fourth Anniversary of the SARS Victims Memorial was

The Fourth Anniversary of the SARS Victims Memorial was held on May 4, 2009 by the Department of Health, the Executive Yuan, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Songshan Armed Forces General Hospital. The memorial started at 9am. President Chen Shui-Bian, Minister of Foreign Affairs James C. F. Huang and Minister of Health Sheng-Mou Hou were all there at the memorial. President Chen unveiled the creation of an art device which is related to the theme “Give Taiwan a Seat in WHO”. The art device was created by the Paper Windmill Arts Education Foundation and the purpose is to convey the message of Taiwan being unfairly treated and rejected by the international medical system. The device also symbolizes a gap in the global medical system without Taiwan. Victims of SARS and their families as well as doctors and nurses who had fought against SARS were invited to attend the memorial. This memorial was held in memory of their unselfish and professional contributions, hoping to bring the world’s attention to our willingness of being part of the WHO.

On Apr 27, 2003, on President’s order, the Songshan Armed Forces General Hospital was the only hospital assigned the mission of treating SARS patients after the shutdown of the Hoping General Hospital. This effectively solved the problem of the national medical capacity insufficiency. The achievement of the Songshan Armed Forces General Hospital four years ago is still the best medical treatment network model for fighting the epidemic outbreak of SARS. Four years ago, had not Dr. Urbani issued the first SARS warning, the WHO would never have been able to issue the travel warning before major outbreak of SARS. Taiwan is the first successful case of fighting such a new infectious disease. However, as Taiwan reported the first SARS case to the WHO on Mar 27, 2003, assistance was not offered until mid-May. In the process of fighting SARS, whenever we turned to the WHO for assistance, WHO had to ask for China’s permission before giving Taiwan appropriate assistance. Disease prevention is like a fire-fighting job. Because of China’s obstruction, the epidemic situation was severely delayed. Compared to Dr. Urbani’s contributions, what WHO had done to Taiwan was very regretting. During the SARS period, Taiwan had wanted to obtain observer status at WHA, hoping to acquire SARS and avian influenza fighting experience from other countries as well as sharing Taiwan’s SARS fighting experience but in vain due to China’s obstructions. Now, four years have passed, and China is still doing everything to prevent Taiwan from being part of the WHO. This is definitely against the WHO’s objective which is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.

Even though Taiwan has encountered a lot of obstacles in fighting against communicable diseases and acquiring assistance from the world, particularly in the process of joining the WHO, disease control has to continue. Taiwan is categorized as highly prepared in case of major outbreaks of communicable diseases by a well-known researcher called Dr. Coker. In memory of the SARS victims as well as expressing our appreciation to the military forces, a memorial was held at the Songshan Armed General Hospital. Once again, we sincerely ask the WHO to give Taiwan a seat in the WHO, and let us join the organization under the name of Taiwan.

See attachments for further information:Asking WHO to Give Taiwan a Seat.pdf

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