Taiwan launches New International Medical Team – TaiwanIHA

Taiwan International Health Action was formally established on March 30 2006, with a vision to provide Taiwan with the chance to give back to the international community.
By integrating and effectively coordinating the domestic manpower, material resources and equipment available for health aid, TaiwanIHA helps developing countries with their essential medical and health needs, and provides timely humanitarian aid anywhere in the world when disasters occur.
To serve as a responsible member of the global community, Taiwan has been actively cooperating in international health matters and unfailingly providing emergency humanitarian medical aid despite certain political obstructions and boycotts. As the medical teams we dispatch across the world have never been absent from any large scale international emergency in recent years, Taiwan has won recognition and acclaim from the international community. Combined public and private sector contributions to medical and health emergency aid projects over the past decade stand at over US$450 million. This sum does not include volunteer medical care and other services that are incalculable.
In view of the need to further integrate the manpower and equipment available for international health assistance, the Taiwan International Health Oper-ations Center (TIHOC), a unified inter-departmental task force, was established in 2004. TIHOC has since been reorganized as Taiwan International Health Action (TaiwanIHA) to make it more streamlined and efficient.
In the process, it has become more extensive and more effective in coordinating with other international humanitarian aid institutions on medical and health cooperation and emergency medical assistance.
Since TaiwanIHA and its predecessor’s inception, joint efforts with related agencies have made several concrete achievements: *Garnered nearly US$200 million of government and private sector donations to victims of the 2004 South Asian tsunami *Cooperated with internationally renowned NGOs on post-disaster recovery and reconstruction by sending Taiwanese gynecologists to the Maldives to assist with local medical needs *Sponsored and conducted such events as the Conference on Surgical Care and Practice, and the Expert Review and Meetings on Public Health Impact of the Tsunami *Held high-level medical care training programs and the Asia Pacific Health Forum and Global Health Leaders Forum *Sent rapid response medical aid units from public and private sectors to disaster areas based on humanitarian considerations for Pakistan and India after the 2005 earthquake.
Although TaiwanIHA only came into being in early February 2006, it has already been involved with early response emergency medical aid in the Philippines after the mudslide disaster of February 18. In the beginning of April, a TaiwanIHA delegation participated in the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition. Later that month, TaiwanIHA assisted the Taiwan Hospital Association in holding the 2006 International Hospital Federation Asian Pacific Regional Conference.
TaiwanIHA also dispatched a team to Burking Faso in April to strengthen measures for preventing avian flu. TaiwanIHA also worked with the International Centre for Migration and Health (ICMH) to jointly publish avian flu prevention pamphlets in various languages. They have been distributed by our embassies and representative offices abroad, thereby making concrete contributions to the global fight against avian flu.
In May 2006, TaiwanIHA sent a first-aid team consisting of twenty rescuers, six medical professionals and a trained rescue dog for Indonesia so as to help victims of the devasting earthquake that struck the island of Java. Despite inhumane attempts by a certain country to pressure to Indonesia to decline Taiwan’s offer, Indonesian authorities welcomed and expressed their appreciation of Taiwan’s humanitarian aid. Disaster relief knows no political boundaries.
In order to strengthen international cooperation in traditional medicine, TaiwanIHA convened the 2006 CAM/TM Professional Training Program from September 19 to October 2, 2006. This provided Taiwan with the opportunity to share its model for and experience in developing traditional medicine, and assist other countries aspiring to promote traditional medicine. The program gave Taiwan the means to contribute to worldwide traditional medical pursuits and demonstrate Taiwan’s willingness and capability to help countries around the world realize the World Health Assembly’s Resolution on Traditional Medicine.
On December 3-6 TaiwanIHA will host the 2006 Global Forum for Health Leaders, with a focus on the « Sustainability of Global Health ». It will help assess the challenges of health professionals and service industries, and work toward developing viable solutions to those problems.
TaiwanIHA will continue to pool the resources and manpower of various departments into one smoothly functioning or organization that can respond to the challenge of globalization and realize medical care without borders. TaiwanIHA will create a new world of opportunity for Taiwan to dedicate medical aid overseas in pursuit of the ideals upheld by WHO Constitution: « The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of the every human being without the distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic and social conditions. »
Globalization increases interdependence between countries. With the outbreak of SARS and the tsunami in South Asia, the principle that « medical health transcends national boundaries and no gaps can be allowed in international disease prevention » has become widely accepted around the world. The people of Taiwan look forward to actively participating in international medical systems and their operations.
TaiwanIHA hopes to cooperate with its counterparts and related experts communities abroad, participate effectively in international medical and health aid projects, and demonstrate Taiwan’s passion of giving back to the international community. It is our desire that the international community will recognize Taiwan’s contributions to the world’s medical and public health systems, and encourage Taiwan to further contribute to the goal of attaining the highest health rights and welfare for all peoples of the world, including the 23 million people of Taiwan.
For further information of Taiwan’s medical and health cooperation, please contact TaiwanIHA, Address: 4F, 7 Roosevelt Road, Section 1, Taipei, Taiwan Website: www.taiwaniha.org Tel: 886-2-2341-9600 Fax: 886-2-2341-5111 Email: taiwaniha@yahoo.com