Once in a while, I come across a news article that actually upsets me. Sometimes it's how the media totally ignores its responsibility to verify sources, and rather mindlessly reported false material. On other occasions, it's due to the news itself. Lately there has been a piece of news that had really made me quite angry. As a student seeking profession in medicine, I feel responsible that I make this issue known to the world.
The issue is described in Food-safety alert delayed health at risk, and also available in various other news reports. I had learned of this incident from a Taiwan newspaper in Chinese. In brief, WHO issued a food-safety alert to the countries at risk. The alert intended for Taiwan was not sent to Taiwan, but rather to China, due to the sad fact that Taiwan is not a member of WHO. China officials delayed sending the crucial information to Taiwan, which put the entire population of Taiwan at risk.
For those not familiar with Taiwan-China relations, Taiwan is essentially self-governed. The Taiwan government is in charge of all aspects of the nation, including economics, military, jurisdiction, and of course, its public health. The China government has no part in the health system of Taiwan. Therefore it is ridiculous for China to act as the window between Taiwan and WHO. Furthermore, from this incidence, we can see that China has no concern for the welfare of the people of Taiwan.
Diseases and pandemics have no borders. The health of the people of Taiwan are just as important as the rest of the world. Allowing Taiwan to join WHO not only benefits the people of Taiwan, but also helps advance the health of the world. The subtropical position of Taiwan and its advanced medical research provides an outpost for the rest of the world, as emerging infectious diseases become more prominent each year.
I had tried to outline the current situation in clear, reasonable facts. I hope it is enough to provoke your interest, or at least your doubts. Please, look even deeper if you are suspicious about my claims. It is my hope that this issue will become sufficiently important for you to mention to others. I am genuinely angry at the irresponsibility of China and WHO, in that they chose to neglect the health of Taiwan people for political reasons. They are shameful for letting political purposes surpass medical profession.
As a doctor-to-be in Taiwan, I am truly sad for the people of Taiwan.
Please visit the following websites for more information:
WHO for Taiwan
WHO for Taiwan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs