Vice President Chen Chien-jen (seated, center) joins MOHW Minister Chen Shih-chung (fourth right); Tom Price (fourth left), former U.S. secretary of health and human services; AIT Director Brent Christensen (second left); and JTEA Deputy Representative Shigehiro Nishiumi (left) at the opening of the GCTF workshop on drug-resistant tuberculosis April 30 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of Presidential Office)
The Global Cooperation and Training Framework workshop on drug-resistant tuberculosis got underway April 30 in Taipei City, bringing together international experts and officials to discuss best practices and the latest ideas on managing the public health challenge.
Organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, American Institute in Taiwan and Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, the four-day workshop was opened by Vice President Chen Chien-jen and attended by leading figures such as Dr. Tom Price, former U.S. secretary of health and human services, as well as 15 TB prevention professionals from Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam.
TB prevention and treatment is a top priority of the U.N., Chen said. It was the focus of the first high-level meeting at the General Assembly last year and is a topic at the upcoming World Health Assembly, he added.
As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan is ready, willing and able to share its medical experience and know-how in assisting Indo-Pacific countries enhance disease prevention capabilities while building a seamless global health care network, Chen said.
Echoing Chen’s remarks, AIT Director Brent Christensen said Taiwan’s success in reducing its TB incidence rate serves as a valuable reference for health care authorities around the world.
Taiwan has much to contribute in advancing efforts to combating infectious diseases and many other international health concerns, Christensen said. The U.S. and other like-minded countries will continue to press the World Health Organization to put global health above politics and allow Taiwan to once again take part in the WHA, he added.
MOHW said WHO data indicates the world recorded around 558,000 cases of first-line drug resistant TB in 2017, with 82 percent deemed multidrug-resistant and only 55 percent fully recovered after treatment.
The 72nd WHA—the governing body of the WHO—takes place May 20-28 in Geneva. A number of member states have publicly and privately urged the organization to uphold its constitution and invite Taiwan to participate in the nine-day event.