Taiwan and International Organizations: WHO

Disease does not stop at the border, as the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated. It is therefore unconscionable that China plays politics with the lives of the people of Taiwan, of the people of China and of people around the world by blocking U.S. efforts to include Taiwan in the World Health Organization (WHO) – particularly in light of Taiwan’s extraordinary performance during this pandemic. Taiwan is prevented from contributing its expertise to the WHO either. How can responsible nations of the world conclude that the 23 million people of Taiwan should be denied information and experience that could benefit their and the rest of the world’s health and well-being?

SARS Experience

Taiwan was barred from joining the WHO during SARS outbreaks between 2002 and 2003. Although Taiwan was effective in controlling the virus, the public health crisis took away 181 lives of the people of Taiwan due to the lack of specimen collection. Timely information is critical to virus prevention and the lack of access to it is extremely dangerous not only to Taiwan but also the entire world.

Taiwan’s Potential Contribution to Global Health

In the end of 2019, Taiwan government warned WHO about the "atypical pneumonia" before the Covid-19 outbreaks. In 2016, Taiwan became the 8th country passing the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) under WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR). Its ability in virus prevention, detection, and response is well recognized under the JEE framework. Compared to Western countries, Taiwan is known for its knowledge about epidemic viruses existing in tropical areas. This is why the U.S. in the past four years has been bringing together medical and global health experts to Taiwan to study Molecular Diagnosis for MERS-CoV, Dengue Prevention and Control, and Molecular Diagnosis for Zika, among others.

  • Other important international venues where Taiwan’s expertise is missing and sorely needed are the ICAO and INTERPOL.