During the past year, I have been living in Taiwan and working in Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, where I have garnered firsthand experience with Taiwan’s exemplary healthcare system. Citizens and residents of Taiwan are provided with affordable access to state-of-the-art services at both public and private healthcare facilities through its efficient National Health Insurance system. Healthcare in Taiwan is based on prevention and early disease detection and with this objective, the government in partnership with local hospitals and clinics conducts regular campaigns nationwide that help to encourage the population, especially at-risk individuals, to undergo regular check-ups and testing at minimal costs.
I arrived in Taiwan just before the COVID-19 pandemic began, but even with its close proximity to Mainland China, and amid the increasing number of cases and overwhelming death toll worldwide, Taiwan’s overall number of positive cases remained among the lowest in the world. This is attributed to early preparedness, health expertise and preventative measures that have were implemented by the government. Throughout the pandemic, Taiwan has been offering critical support to health officials in Belize in terms of preparedness and management of cases as well as aiding with supplies and equipment. It is with Taiwan’s assistance and the implementation of stricter policies that Belize has greatly improved its management of the outbreak, despite the alarming number of cases in neighboring countries.
It is evident that the measures taken by the government and people of Taiwan were effective in the control of COVID-19 within its borders; and they have also successfully exported their expertise to assist their allies, including my country, Belize. As the world continues to battle COVID-19, the WHO/WHA should seek to be more inclusive of all the available expertise and best practices to guide global health policies: Taiwan can help!
Dr. Tefarra Smith