Written by K. Thiruchelvam. Why have some countries responded to the COVID-19 pandemic more decisively than others? How have seemingly under-resourced countries performed better—in terms of the number of cases and fatalities—than their richer counterparts? These and other vexing questions have continued to confound many of us as we enter the third year of a pandemic that has brought governments all over the world to their knees.
Written by Tsung-Mei Cheng. For much of the past eighteen months, the world has been under siege from the Covid-19 pandemic. Since January 2020, when the novel virus was first reported, the scourge has claimed more than four million lives and 189 million confirmed cases around the globe. In the Covid-19 saga spanning continents, damaging economies, and taking lives, Taiwan stood out as a poster child of success in preventing large outbreaks and keeping its economy growing at the same time.
Written by Denis Simon. In early 2021, Taiwan’s health care system was ranked number one globally for the third year in a row by NUMBEO’s Annual Online Survey. Its overall performance buoyed the island’s ability to consistently earn such a high ranking during the first 12-14 months of the Covid-19 global pandemic beginning in 2020. Taiwan officials initially were able to ward off any significant damage from the pandemic by pursuing a highly aggressive strategy to keep the virus at bay. While other international rankings, such as the World Index of Healthcare Innovation, do not rank Taiwan as number one in its rating system, there is consensus across the board internationally that the government has proven itself highly effective at managing its single-payer health care system, mainly due to its innovative approach to digital health records.
Written by Wei-hong Chen. According to the 2019 survey from the World Confederation of Physical Therapy, in 79% of its member countries, (as Australia and Canada, and the UK,) PTs can provide services without supervision from a doctor. Taiwan falls into the minority of countries in which PTs can only operate under a Doctor’s orders. This restricted referral model is enforced in legal and medical systems, and as a result, the quality of physical therapy in Taiwan has been seriously hindered.
Written By Tsung-Mei Cheng. As recent as the end of 2019, Taiwan’s public gave the NHI a 90% satisfaction rating. The questions at hand are: how will Taiwan’s public and their representatives in parliament respond to the urgent need to balance NHI’s budget in the near-immediate term? Moreover, how will they help build a health system of greater efficiency and quality in the longer term by agreeing to pay more for the health care they have come to expect?
Written by Ian Inkster. The East Asian capacity for self-help is not an illusion nor irrelevant to our further understanding of the global Covid 19 crisis. More of this later. First, a few statistics that put East Asia in some perspective, derived from my analysis of the figures available on 28-29 March. All figures are problematic and very temporary, but the death/cases ratio seems sturdy in that the numerator is visible, which is more difficult to hide and easier to find than most of the measures being bandied about elsewhere.
Written by Beth Duff-Brown. Within the last five weeks the Taiwan epidemic command center rapidly implemented those 124 action items, including border control from the air and sea, case identification using new data and technology, quarantine of suspicious cases, educating the public while fighting misinformation, negotiating with other countries — and formulating policies for schools and businesses to follow.
Written by Tsung-Mai Cheng. 1 March 2020 will mark the 25th anniversary of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance (NHI), a government-run single-payer health care system that covers the health care needs of Taiwan’s 23.5 million citizens and approximately 800,000 foreign residents. Before the NHI’s Implementation in 1995, 41% of Taiwan’s population had no health insurance coverage. Access to health care depended on the ability to pay for it, which often led to bankruptcy and impoverishment; or at its worst, meant no care.