Taiwan Medical Mission awarded for providing medical aid in Africa
By Lydia Lin, The China Post
April 19, 2011, 10:33 pm TWN
The Department of Health (DOH) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday recognized and celebrated the efforts of Taipei Medical University Hospital doctors who provided medical aid and education to the Kingdom of Swaziland and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe through the Taiwan Medical Mission.
DOH Minister Chiu Wen-ta praised the fruitfulness of the mission team, and was on hand to present awards to the 12 medical pioneers who had served in Swaziland in a ceremony honoring their hard work in bettering the lives of those they helped.
Su Ching-hua, acting president of Taipei Medical University (TMU), said local doctors gave up the luxury of treating patient in familiar hospitals for missions in Swaziland. The university and the hospital's doctors will continue to take part in future missions, Su promised, in order to expand the international borders of Taiwan's medical expertise.
Bruno Shen, deputy director-general of the Department of African Affairs at the MOFA said the ministry has been supporting the medical mission for a number of years now and will do its best to continue to aid and improve the efficacy of the team in everyway.
During the forum held at the Taipei Medical University Hospital yesterday, Tu Chi-cheng, who served as chief of Taiwan Medical Mission, gave a brief history of the medical mission while presenting their findings while performing care.
According to Tu, the Taiwan Medical Mission to Swaziland was first created in May, 2008, through the Changhua Christian Hospital. TMU created it's own medical mission team between 2009 to 2010.
Swaziland developed diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (R.O.C.) as soon as it gained independence in Sept. 6, 1968, as detailed in Tu's report. Statistics show that am estimated 30 percent of the population was afflicted with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and 70 percent of the people lived below the poverty line. Tu said the majority of the people lived in rural countryside.
Tu led a team of doctors specializing in the fields of general internal medicine, infectious diseases, neurology, pediatrics and dental care into the Mbabane Government Hospital (MGH).
The team conducted CT scans, treated gunshot wounds and performed open surgery, 30 percent of which were on deformed infants. Tu said that on top of educating local medical staff on improving outpatient services, conducting ward rounds and upping clinical research, the team successfully improved the water quality in five elementary schools across Swaziland.
Tu concluded in his report that, from 2009 until now, the Taiwan Mission Team to Swaziland has treated a total of 4,000 people across 12 districts. Within three years, the university also upgraded the medical equipment at hospitals, provided scholarships for local medical students and developed invaluable relationships with locals along the way.
One such relationship was with Her Majesty the Queen Mother of the Kingdom of Swaziland, who the team treated, providing medical exams and advice for her continued health. Tu recounted with particular pride, the Queen Mother's visit to Taiwan from March 11 to 22 last year, which greatly enhanced diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Swaziland.
Concerning the future of the Taiwan Medical Mission, Tu said more aid is needed in the form of medical equipment, manpower and financial support for the Kingdom of Swaziland.