Overseas hospital joins health care diplomacy with Chinese medicine


By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Speaking during a press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Taipei, Nina Kao (高小玲), CEO of the Overseas Medical Mission Center of Changhua Christian Hospital (彰化基督教醫院), said her hospital has been working with the ministry to promote Taiwan with its medical mission aboard. The hospital has established sisterhood ties with St. Jude Hospital in St. Lucia in 2009 and Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2010. Both countries are the R.O.C.’s diplomatic allies in the Caribbean region.

Since then, the Taiwanese hospital has worked together with the Foreign Ministry to regularly send medical teams to the two countries to offer medical assistance, Kao said. So far, a total of 100 doctors have been to St. Lucia to treat more than 5,000 patients. Meanwhile, another 20 doctors have visited St. Vincent, treating over 1,300 patients, according to Kao. As part of the medical mission, Kao said her hospital has begun to send traditional Chinese medicine doctors to St. Lucia since May 2013. So far, a total of seven doctors have been sent to the allied country to practice and to teach traditional Chinese medicine to local doctors, she said. According to Kao, people in St. Lucia are very open to the practices of traditional Chinese medicine. “This is because traditionally the St. Lucians also practice acupuncture and herbal medicine,” she said at the press conference. But there are some differences between the acupuncture and herbal medicine practices of Taiwanese doctors and their St. Lucian counterparts. According to Kao, the cooperation project with St. Lucian Allied Health Council allows Taiwanese Chinese medicine doctors to teach their St. Lucian counterparts the more advanced acupuncture techniques and herbal medicine practices in Taiwan. The trial run of the project since May 2013 has proven a major success, Kao said, adding that the two sides are scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding to expand the project later this month. In the future, the medical mission sent by the Taiwanese hospital will help to compile an illustrated handbook on herbal medicines in St. Lucia, she added.