Taiwan pledges continued support for international efforts to eradicate TB

From Taiwan Today 2018-03-26

A sign installed at CDC headquarters in Taipei City for World TB Day highlights Taiwan’s commitment to eradicating the disease at home and abroad. (Courtesy of CDC)

Taiwan’s senior health officials reiterated March 23 the nation’s commitment to eradicating tuberculosis at home and joining international efforts to eliminate the disease.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, Centers for Disease Control Director-General Chou Jih-haw, lawmakers and health care professionals made the pledge at a ceremony in Taipei City staged on the eve of World TB Day, a public awareness campaign organized annually by the World Health Organization. The event also included a lighting ceremony for an “End TB” sign on the front of CDC headquarters.

Dr. Chen Shih-Chung
Minister of Health and Welfare
Republic of China (Taiwan)

Chen said that the number of TB patients in Taiwan fell below 10,000 for the first time in 2017, underscoring the country’s progress in tackling the illness. The government is working to build on these gains by further bolstering control and prevention measures as well as strengthening public and academic sector collaboration on research and treatment, he added.
According to CDC statistics, the number of TB patients decreased from 16,472 in 2005 to 9,754 in 2017. The mortality rate for the disease also dropped by about 40 percent over the same period.

Chen said that these advances result from wide-ranging government funding for treatment and prevention through the National Health Insurance program—Taiwan’s universal health care system—and the CDC. As a result, TB patients do not need to cover expenses for such services as inpatient and outpatient care, medication and vaccines.

The CDC fully or partially covers incubation period screenings for those who have come into contact with patients; those without NHI coverage; second-line pharmaceuticals for the treatment of multidrug-resistant TB; imported medications; quarantines; screenings in remote areas; and directly observed treatment, short-course—a WHO-recommended control strategy.

According to Chen, this comprehensive funding highlights the nation’s commitment to universal health care, a founding principle and priority objective of the WHO. Taiwan has expressed its eagerness to attend the World Health Assembly—the global organization’s decision-making body—May 21-26 in Geneva so it can share its extensive expertise with the international community. (KWS-E)