Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Taiwan should enter WHO

Over at DailyKos Psalmanazar, whose name comes from the first Formosan to Visit Europe (a hoaxer), has a great post on why Taiwan should enter the WHO:

Despite its advanced public health system of its own (The Economist once ranked Taiwan’s health system second best in the world, behind only Sweden’s) Taiwan has been wary of contagious disease since the 2003 SARS outbreak that saw the virus carried into Taiwan by an infected traveler and subsequently spread to 345 others. Despite being “officially” blocked out of the WHO, Taiwan for a time was able to “unofficially” send health experts to WHO-sanctioned technical-level meetings under the vague rubric of “meaningful participation”. But this arrangement ended in 2005 when Beijing signed a secret memorandum of understanding with the WHO Secretariat giving it the right to first refusal in any matter regarding Taiwan. Ethical considerations of such a back-room deal aside, the 2005 MOU has unwittingly created a major blind-spot in the WHO’s long-term strategy to establish a disease surveillance system in Asia.


Looking to sidestep the pitfalls now found in its traditional push for unofficial participation through observer status (a form of participation currently enjoyed by non-state organizations like the Holy See, the Knights of Malta and the Palestinian Authority), the Taipei government has changed its strategy this year and has applied for full membership under the island’s unofficial name, “Taiwan”. Taiwan has adopted this strategy for two reasons, the first being a general sense of frustration among Taiwanese voters with past failures of pursuing observer status under the “meaningful participation” banner. A recent poll by the private organization Taiwan Thinktank in Taipei showed 94.9 percent of people interviewed believe that Taiwan should be a member of the WHO, and after a decade of failure the democratic government there now seems open to trying something new.


Arty said...

Taiwan should be in the WHO, but it will never happen without the blessing of China. Keep playing political games with China is not going to help average citizens. Of course, it is not either Taiwan or China's fault (at least in my mind).

Benjamin said...

"Taiwan should enter WHO." Great article, just don't mention this to mainlanders.


Benjamin said...

"Taiwan should enter WHO" Great article, just don't mention this to mainlanders.