Banjul, The Gambia, April 13 (CNA) Gambian Health Minister Fatim Badjie said Friday that her country will urge the World Health Organization (WHO) to accept Taiwan as a member and will repeat the call every year until it is answered.
The Gambia will continue to support Taiwan's bid to join the organization, Badjie told the media at Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in the capital city of Banjul, where she was accompanying visiting Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou on a tour of the facilities.
Voicing thanks for Taiwan's medical aid, the minister stressed that medical assistance from Taiwan is very important to The Gambia.
For example, Taiwan's donations of a computed tomography system and a nuclear magnetic resonance system marked important milestones in The Gambia's medical history, Badjie said.
The modern equipment has not only benefited Gambian people, but also those from neighboring countries who travel to The Gambia for treatment, she said.
Badjie also lauded the importance of medical exchanges between the two nations, which started in 2007.
Such interaction has greatly helped her country, the minister said, citing free medical care services provided by a Taiwanese medical team in The Gambia last year.
The Gambia is the second leg of Ma's 12-day state visit to three of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Africa. Ma has already visited Burkina Faso and will head to Swaziland Saturday.
At a dinner party on Friday with Taiwanese diplomats, medical team members and compatriots living in the West African country, Ma said he felt "the temperature of the friendship in Africa is higher than the temperature of the climate here."
During the tour, he has been deeply touched by the warm hearts of the locals, whose enthusiastic expressions of welcome over his visit have amazed him, Ma said.
He has never seen in Taiwan the intense cheerful hailing and applause he has received here, "not even in the areas where his die-hard supporters live," he said.
(By Lee Shu-hua and Elizabeth Hsu)