By SIBUSISO DLAMINI | 2023-05-25
TAIWAN has expressed its sincere gratitude to Eswatini and other global partners for supporting Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Health Assembly (WHA).
Taiwan was once again locked out of the 74th World Health Assembly, much against the continuous calls for its inclusion by Eswatini and other diplomatic allies.
That is because of China, which views the self-ruled democracy as its own territory, has waged an increasingly assertive campaign to keep Taipei isolated on the world stage, even vowing to seize it one day. Beijing's block on Taipei from attending the WHA as an observer began after the 2016 election of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen.
Taiwan Presidential Office spokesperson Olivia Lin said as an active and responsible member of the international community, Taiwan does its utmost to contribute to global health through its expertise in medicine and public health.
She added that the 23 million people of Taiwan should have the same right to health as everyone else around the world and should not be excluded from the international health system, including the WHO.
The spokesperson explained that Taiwan's participation in the WHA is not just about their people's right to health, but more so about the inclusion of an indispensable link in the global health and disease prevention systems.
The assembly, which kicked off Monday, is one of the most important in the WHO's history, amid calls to revamp the organisation and the entire global approach to health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.Interestingly, Taiwan, who were locked out, had one of the world's best pandemic responses.
Eswatini is also represented at the WHA in Geneva, with Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi leading the delegation comprising of Principal Secretary Dr Simon Zwane and Director of Health Services Dr Velephi Okello.
In her statement, Minister Nkosi continued the country’s calls for the WHO to include Taiwan in all its meetings, mechanisms, and activities, based on the WHO principle of leaving no one behind.
“Taiwan can help and is willing to share its expertise to improve global health,” said Nkosi.
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