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The 2014 Global Health Forum in Taiwan Welcomes Global Health Leaders to Contribute on ‘Healthy Society, Healthy People’

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2014-11-30
  • Last Updated:2017-01-11

Co-organized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the 2014 Global Health Forum in Taiwan opens at the Evergreen International Convention Center of the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation today and tomorrow on the theme, Healthy Society, Healthy People. The two main parts of the theme, Healthy Political Economy and Post-2015 Development Agenda, explore how to tackle health inequalities, achieve a healthy lifestyle through the creation of healthy cities and the environment, and practical measures for eliminating two of the four major risk factors for non-infectious chronic diseases: tobacco and obesity. From a lifetime perspective, there have also been discussions on how to implement comprehensive public health care to improve public health from birth to old age. In addition, the Forum is tackling issue such as sustainable management of national health insurance, assessment of health technologies, and so on. 

In his speech to the Forum today, Vice President Wu Den-Yih said that in response to reduced birthrates in Taiwan, the government encourages childbirth and creates an environment conducive to marriage. Maternal and child health care starts from the promotion of a healthy pregnancy, actively building a healthy foundation for infants and toddlers, promoting breastfeeding, the accreditation of medical facilities for maternal and child care, the Act Governing Breastfeeding in Public Places and encouraging establishment of breast-feeding rooms in public and workplaces in order to improve birthrates and develop a more friendly environment for raising children. 

In the face of the threat from alcoholism—one of the four major risk factors of non-infectious chronic diseases—the government enforces a strict ban on drunk driving and strict enforcement of a warning on liquor advertisements stating, “excessive drinking is bad for health.” 

Vice President Wu also pointed out that since the launch of national health insurance (NHI) in 1995, Taiwan has established a low-premium, full-benefit health insurance system, with an insured rate of 99% and an increase in the national average life expectancy from 74.5 years in 1995 to nearly 80 years in 2013. Most importantly, the health insurance system has eliminated barriers to medical care, allowing poor people to receive proper medical care when needed, making it an important policy for reducing health inequality. After implementing the new system of Second Generation NHI supplementary premiums last year (2013), the healthcare deficit has been much improved and is expected to be free from financial difficulty until 2017. 

The theme of this years Forum, Healthy Society, Healthy People, is a continuity of the theme last year (2013), Health in All Policies, and a response to the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda. In September 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted the Millennium Declaration; all member states took an oath to commit to the achievement of eight ‘Millennium Development Goals’ by 2015. With 2015 approaching, countries around the world are reviewing their progress and shortcomings in reaching the goals and making blueprints for the future. In 2012, the United Nations drew up the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which emphasizes eleven important global development issues including health, conflict and vulnerability, education, energy, environmental sustainability, food security, governance, growth and employment, inequality, population dynamics and water. By organizing a large-scale international forum to explore the issues of health, inequality and governance, and focusing on the two main themes of Healthy Political Economy and Post-2015 Development Agenda, Taiwan has taken practical action to support UN and WHO policies as a manifestation of positive feedback to the international community. 

The Global Health Forum in Taiwan has entered its tenth year this year, with a total attendance of 600 people, bringing together leaders of major medical and health organizations, health ministers and secretaries, representatives, officials and experts—a total of 60 foreign guests from 31 countries. Among them are leaders of major international medical and health organizations including Director of Global Health Program of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva (IHEID), Ilona Kickbusch; President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), Mengistu Asnake; President of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA), Martin McKee; Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Evidence-Based Health Promotion, Hanne Tonnesen; President of the World Medical Association (WMA), Xavier Deau; President of the American Medical Association (AMA), Robert M. Wah; President of the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG), Helmut Brand; health ministers and secretaries from countries including Ghana, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Somaliland, Swaziland, and Tuvalu; health officials and experts from countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Japan, Luxemburg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uganda, Vietnam, and Yemen. They gathered at the 2014 Global Health Forum in Taiwan from all over the world, contributing their wisdom for the greater goal: Healthy Society, Healthy People. 

The MOHW stated that the health issues and challenges faced by Taiwan are becoming more and more difficult. Of particular note among these are an increasing number of chronic diseases caused by lifestyle, greater medical care needs of an aging population and health inequalities caused by socio-economic and demographic factors. Each of these is a test of our professionalism. 

Health is not just the responsibility of the health authorities; it requires the full mobilization of the government and the public, so that health becomes the foundation of all decision-making in order to create a healthy society and achieve a positive cycle. The MOHW will combine the power of the health and welfare sectors to continue its evidence-based campaign to meet international standards, work with various agencies, civil societies and the public in the interest of national health, to improve life expectancies and reduce health inequalities, all in the hope of achieving better health and longevity for all citizens, regardless of their income, region, gender or ethnicity, and strive for the WHO’s goal of Health for All.