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Medical groups protest Taiwan exclusion from WHA
Taipei, May 10 (CNA) Fifteen medical associations on Wednesday protested at Taiwan's exclusion from the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) after Taipei was not invited to this year's gathering.
The groups said at a press conference that the World Health Organization's (WHO) decision-making body should attach greater importance to the right of Taiwan to participate in discussions on the latest global medical issues, a right that should not be compromised by political factors.
The call came after the Ministry of Health and Welfare confirmed on Tuesday that Taiwan did not receive an invitation from the WHO by the May 8 deadline for online registration for this year's WHA, to be held in Geneva from May 22 to May 31.
"WHA needs Taiwan, Taiwan needs WHA," said Chiu Tai-yuan, president of Taiwan Medical Association, while calling on the WHA to invite Taiwan to attend the annual meeting so that Taiwan can better contribute to medical care and public health systems around the world.
With a population of approximately 23 million, Taiwan has promoted a range of health service delivery systems over the past few decades and its National Health Insurance system has been extremely successful, Chiu noted.
Chiu said the country is keen to share with others its experience in developing and implementing public health and medical systems and provide support to developing countries as they work to develop and reform their own public health and medical systems.
Meanwhile, Kao Ching-chiu, president of the Taiwan Union of Nurses Association, said that Taiwan's substantive contributions to health and medical care issues in the international community make it an indispensable partner in global disease prevention.
Taiwan first attended the WHA as an observer in 2009, a year after the government of former President Ma Ying-jeou came to power and adopted a more conciliatory policy toward Beijing.
Taiwan had taken part in every WHA meeting since then, until this year.
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