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6 Taiwan hospitals honored at annual WHO conference

BARCELONA -- Six Taiwanese hospitals have been recognized at the 22nd International Conference on Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services (HPH) held in Barcelona, Spain, from April 23 to April 25.

HPH, which operates under the World Health Organization, presented the Jianan Psychiatric Center of the Ministry of Health and Welfare with the Outstanding Fulfillment of HPH Strategy Award.

It is the third consecutive year that a Taiwanese hospital has won the award, the previous recipients being Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital and Changhua Christian Hospital.

Five other Taiwanese hospitals received the International Environment-friendly Hospital Team Work Best Practice Award this year for their low carbon efforts.

According to information from the health and welfare ministry, Jianan Psychiatric Center is listed as a psychiatric teaching hospital.

Since it joined the health promotion network, the Jianan center has been making efforts to become a more public-friendly facility, creating specially designed walkways and galleries in its wards, the ministry said.

The ministry also said that the psychiatric center, located in southern Taiwan, has created a nonsmoking environment, thus breaking the misconception that mentally ill patients cannot quit smoking.

According to the center's dean Cheng Ching-ming, the breakthrough came when the hospital invited family physicians instead of psychiatrists to help design methods for patients to focus their attention away from smoking.

For its efforts, the Jianan Psychiatric Center received the 2012 ENSH Global Network for Tobacco Free Healthcare Services award, becoming the first mental health institution to gain that honor, the health ministry said.

The HPH awards for environmentally friendly hospital practices went to Taiwan's Chang Gung Medical Foundation, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, China Medical University Hospital, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Kuang Tien General Hospital and Singapore's Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

The hospitals all had different low carbon initiatives.

China Medical University Hospital started by promoting its green cafeteria, which serves low carbohydrate foods, encourages the eating of vegetables and provides nutrient and calorie tables.

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, on the other hand, saw architecture as a way of lessening its carbon footprint. The hospital has a rooftop garden for its patients, with a design that allows less exposure to direct sunlight and helps the hospital save money on air conditioning costs. The use of high-density glass also cuts energy costs by up to 33 percent.

Taipei Medical University Hospital, meanwhile, has set up a cloud computer system for patient care, providing diverse channels for making appointments and thus saving up to 5 million sheets of paper per year.

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