From Ministry of Health and Welfare, ROC 2021-04-12
Tuberculosis care in Taiwan is partially covered by the NHI. Expenses not provided under the system are subsidized by the CDC to ensure a strong disease prevention and treatment network. CDC funding fully or partially covers incubation period screenings for those who have come into contact with TB patients; TB patients without NHI coverage; second-line drugs for the treatment of multidrug-resistant TB; imported TB medications; quarantine treatment; TB screening in remote areas; and directly observed treatment, short-course—a WHO-recommended TB control strategy.
As a result of these subsidies, TB patients do not need to cover expenses for such measures as BCG vaccines, inpatient and outpatient services, LTBI (latent TB infection) treatment, case management and medication. In addition, to ensure safe and comprehensive treatment, social welfare mechanisms and local private sector organizations provide various forms of assistance to financially disadvantaged patients like meals and transportation.
HIV antiretroviral treatment
To ensure high-quality and accessible medical care for HIV patients, Taiwan has designated a large number of hospitals and pharmacies nationwide as treatment centers. HIV care initiatives provide patients with self-management programs, enabling them to take control of their day-to-day health and adhere to treatment regime. The government promotes the internationally recommended first-line therapy, comprising daily intake of a three-in-one combination drug, to help patients adhere to treatment plans. All health care expenses for HIV patients are covered under the NHI or other government funds.
In line with the UNAIDS three zeros strategy (zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination) and 95-95-95 treatment target, which entails 95 percent of all people living with HIV to know their HIV status, 95 percent of all people with a diagnosed HIV infection to receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 95 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy to have viral suppression by 2030,, Taiwan regularly launches public awareness initiatives about the disease so as to end stigmatization and help patients feel respected and accepted. At the same time, Taiwan strives to create a friendly screening and treatment environment while meeting UNAIDS goals and targets.
On Dec. 4, 1965, the eradication of malaria in Taiwan was certified by the WHO. To safeguard this status, the CDC continues to implement measures including border quarantine and tracking; surveillance and screening; and maintaining malaria laboratory diagnosis capabilities. It also imports antimalarial drugs for self-paid prescriptions at travel clinics. The CDC urges those planning to visit high-risk regions to schedule an appointment with such clinics and take medications as instructed.
Health security: compliance with the International Health Regulations
An International Health Regulations national focal point was launched as the designated contact window with WHO headquarters after Taiwan was incorporated into the operation mechanism of IHR (2005) in 2009. This contact window is charged with reporting major public health events to the WHO, receiving such information from other countries through the IHR Event Information Site and facilitating cross-border communication and referral for cases of major infectious diseases. The government also established IHR core capacities at seven international airports and ports (responsible for 95 percent of the country’s visitor traffic and 86 percent cargo throughput). In an effort to continue promoting local capabilities, the government also conduct annual self-evaluation as well as external evaluation every five years to ensure the ports’ sustainable development as well as their abilities of responding to emergent public health security incidents.
In 2018, one designated airport and port—Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Port of Kaohsiung—were evaluated by EU experts based on WHO guidelines and the Joint External Evaluation Tool (JEE). Both facilities receive full marks in recognition of their performances on IHR core capabilities and sustainable development. As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was declared as a Public Health Emergency Of International Concern (PHEIC) by the WHO, seven designated airports and ports in Taiwan meeting IHR core capacity requirements have helped Taiwan respond to the pandemic and ensured smooth communication among personnel and mobilization of workers. As a result, the risk of importing COVID-19 into Taiwan has been significantly reduced This has allowed economic activity and people’s daily lives to proceed with minimal interruption.
Based on WHO guidelines, in 2016 the government contracted U.S. experts and adopted the IHR 2005: Joint External Evaluation Tool to conduct an external evaluation of the country’s emergency response capabilities in addressing public health threats. Among the 48 indicators, Taiwan was found to possess developed or sustainable capacities in 42. Taiwan is the eighth country in the world to have completed such an assessment.