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Taiwan is dedicated to improving public health globally: VP

2017/09/19 20:31:57

CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said Tuesday Taiwan has worked with international groups and experts on dengue fever and is committed to helping improve public health globally.

Chen made his remarks while meeting a group of academics and experts attending the "Dengue Forum: Fighting Dengue Fever - Vaccine Intervention" held from Sept. 18-19 in Taipei.

The event looked at progress made in dengue fever prevention in Taiwan and highlighted the country's continuing efforts to contribute to improved public health around the world.

The vice president pointed out that in 2016 the National Mosquito-Borne Diseases Control Research Center collaborated with academics and experts to develop new technology on disease vector control.

Chen said Taiwan and the U.S. have signed agreements on the development of dengue fever vaccines and hopes that with the assistance of Professor Stephen Whitehead from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Professor Anna Durbin from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other vaccine experts, it will be possible to develop the world's first dengue fever vaccine for seniors.

He added that the dengue NS1 rapid assay developed by the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control is authorized for domestic production in 2017.

The vice president also discussed how the New Southbound Policy relates to the Dengue Forum.

Chen said he would like to strengthen Taiwan's relationship with South Asia and Southeast Asia, to enhance the sense of community and one area of focus is to push for medical cooperation as there is a high incidence of dengue fever in the area.

For the Taiwan Research-based Biopharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (TRPMA) hosting the Dengue Forum, the vice president expressed his gratitude, saying that such events are "very important to Taiwan."

He noted that dengue fever is one of the world's most prevalent infectious disease because sufferers often display no obvious symptoms and that facilitates the rapid spread of the disease.

He added that the World Health Organization classified dengue fever as a neglected tropical disease but for political reasons excludes Taiwan.

Chen said that the exclusion of Taiwan means a major gap in the global network for disease prevention and a serious threat to global public health and safety.

He noted that it is precisely because Taiwan is prevented from taking part in international health organizations that non-government organizations and expert exchanges and channels are so important.

The visitors received by the vice president included Michael Malison, adjunct professor from Emory university; Han Van Den Bosch, professor of international public health, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; and Steve Hsu-sung Kuo (郭旭崧), ambassador-at large on global health, amongst others, accompanied by Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元), deputy health minister.

(By Yeh Su-ping and William Yen)