With the World Health Assembly (WHA, 世界衛生大會) set to begin on May 24 and no news yet of an invitation for Taiwan, Spanish mainstream media “La Razón” (道理日報 ) published an open letter written by Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) on Monday.
In the letter, Chen pointed out that the pandemic proves that Taiwan is an indispensable part of global public health issues and urges the World Health Organization (WHO, 世界衛生組織) to incorporate Taiwan into meetings and activities.
The 74th WHA will be held virtually in Geneva, Switzerland from May 24 to June 1.
創於1998年的西班牙前五大報「道理日報」（La Razón） 今日以全版全文刊登我國衛福部長陳時中以「台灣可以幫忙─讓我們共同建立全球衛生體系」為題的投書。
La Razón, which was founded in 1998, is one of the top five Spanish media; it published the article by Chen, titled, “Taiwan Can Help—Let us build a global health system together.”
Chen mentioned in the article that the spread of COVID-19 from Wuhan, China at the end of 2019 to today, has caused more than 126 million confirmed cases and 2.7 million deaths worldwide.
It has a made huge, negative impact on global health, the economy, and society in general, and also seriously threatened the efforts made by countries to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Chen continued.
According to the letter, Taiwan was predicted to be one of the countries most seriously affected by the epidemic because of its geographical proximity to China.
However, because of previous experience of fighting SARS in 2003, Taiwan did not ignore the warning it received and quickly judged that the spread and severity of the disease had exceeded almost everyone’s expectations.
Up to now, there have been only two hospital-related COVID-19 transmission incidents in Taiwan, and both of them have been effectively controlled, Chen wrote.
He added that by April 22, 2021, there were only 1,086 confirmed cases and 11 deaths, and most people maintained normal life and work.
Chen said that Taiwan is one of the most successful countries in responding to the epidemic in the world because of its sound medical system, rigorous inspection strategy, transparent and open information, and cooperation between the public and private sectors.
In his letter, Chen called on the WHO and relevant parties to support the inclusion of Taiwan into the organization and let Taiwan fully participate in all relevant meetings, mechanisms, and activities.
Chen hopes that Taiwan can join hands with other countries in the world to jointly implement the vision and promise of the WHO, “Health care is a basic human right” and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal “Leave no one behind.”