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Planned documentary will tout Taiwan medical achievements

TAIPEI -- A documentary on Taiwan's medical achievements will be aired around the world as soon as early next year, the Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday.

The 60-minute film, the first of its kind, will showcase the country's much applauded health care system and give insights into its potential for developing medical tourism, said DOH Minister Chiu Wen-ta in a press conference held jointly with National Geographic Channel, which will broadcast the show. “We have a strong medical system worth showing to the world,” Chiu said.

He noted that Taiwan's health infrastructure ranks top in various international surveys, and cited from Paul Krugman, a Nobel laureate, who praised the country's national health insurance (NHI) scheme as one of the most successful in the world.

The NHI was established in 1995 and its insured rate now exceeds 99 percent. With more than 83 percent of the citizens satisfied with the program, the health minister added that Taiwan's success in health insurance has become an international point of reference.

Taiwan's Medical Miracles will also discuss the nation's moves to develop medical tourism. According to statistics, more than 15,000 foreigners, including people from China, visited Taiwan for health checks, cosmetic treatment and surgery in 2010, creating an output value of NT$3.8 billion (US$11.87 million)

“Taiwan is not the only country with medical miracle stories,” said Primer Wu Den-yih. “But, as an island, we are resource-deprived and disaster-prone.” Wu said that the Taiwanese have made relentless efforts to improve their lives, including health.

“The documentary is a great story about medicine, love, life and things we all care a great deal about,” said Ward Platt, president of Fox International Channels, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

Platt said the film will be completed by December and is slated for showing next spring in more than 30 countries, and is expected to draw viewership of 200 million households.

“The goal is for the audience to get a chance to learn a lot about Taiwan's medical advances and its efforts in medical tourism,” Platt said.

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