Written by Jens Damm. With the outbreak and global spread of COVID-19, reports of the stigmatisation of Asian-looking people have been accumulating in Germany and worldwide. Therefore, for a small research project, I chose to conduct qualitative semi-structured interviews with Taiwanese who spent the time of the pandemic in Berlin. I focused on their personal experiences as transnational actors. I asked in particular about personal experiences of discrimination and economic hardships during the pandemic and their evaluation of the different COVID-19 measures in Germany and in Taiwan.
Written by Yu-Chuan “Daniel” Lin. Although PrEP medication solves the HIV epidemic, research has found an inadequate number of MSM receiving it. For example, a 2015 U.S. CDC report has indicated that at least one of four gay men should be taking PrEP daily to effectively avoid more extensive HIV transmission, requiring the participation of roughly 1,200,000 MSM nationwide. However, its data showed that no more than 50,000 MSM are doing so, which translates into a poor execution rate (around 3%) of the government’s PrEP project designated to combat the HIV epidemic.
Written by Geng-Hui Lin. Compared to HIV risk, which is assessed through responses to a CDC survey, age is a relatively inflexible criterion for MSM’s who want to obtain PrEP through Taiwan’s PrEP program. There are ways to be categorised as an elevated risk for HIV infection depending on your answers to the CDC’s HIV risk assessment. As a result of these criteria, although some MSM’s over thirty-five have been enrolled in the program, access and availability remain mostly limited to those under this age. This leaves older MSM’s as outsiders to the program, unable to enter.
Written by Tsung-Mei Cheng. Time will tell how quickly Taiwan can bring the Covid surge under control. However, the fundamentals that worked so well for Taiwan before the surge—preparedness (a national plan), universal health coverage, advanced IT and communications infrastructure, and a cooperating public—should continue to serve Taiwan well in the fight against the current surge. Moreover, it will hopefully also defend us against future variants of the Covid-19 coronavirus to come.
Written by Chunhuei Chi. Taiwan’s repeated successes in controlling domestic outbreaks, including successfully controlling the new outbreak in May of 2021 by mid-July, ironically contributed to Taiwan’s challenge to move into the transitional phase. This success enabled Taiwanese residents to enjoy a normal life with a low tolerance for domestic outbreaks and caused a unique form of vaccine hesitancy, especially among the elderly. When there is little to no risk of infection, many people associate vaccination with risks and few potential benefits.
Written by Brian Hioe. Now, Taiwan faces the challenge of transitioning from its COVID-zero approach toward what the Central Epidemic Command Centre (CECC), which coordinates Taiwan’s COVID-19 response, has referred to as a “zero severe COVID” approach. Namely, as Taiwan transitions to a COVID-management strategy, attempts are made to avoid serious cases of COVID-19.
Written by Yunaw Sili and Besu Piyas. The story began in 2006. That year, the Council of Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan issued a guideline stating that if Indigenous students need preferential treatment for college admission, they must pass the national Indigenous language certification test. As a result, many parents were worried that their children’s access to higher education would become more difficult. Because of this issue, we started our grassroots organising work in Hanxi Village, Datong Township of Yilan County. That was the first time we engaged and coordinated with the community people on local concerns. On April 19th, 2006, we demonstrated in front of the Council of Indigenous Peoples, fighting for our youth’s college rights.
Written by Wasiq Silan. Despite the varying colonial histories with Indigenous peoples in other parts of the world, Indigenous people in Taiwan have one disturbing issue in common: poor health. Among other indicators (such as maternal mortality, birthweight, malnutrition, obesity and so on), Indigenous peoples in Taiwan die almost a decade sooner than the general population. Why this disparity? We are taught to believe the argument that blames Indigenous peoples for their own high-risk behavioural choice, lack of awareness, low educational attainment, and dysfunctional families; closer examination shows that we need to look beyond the individual level.
Written by Kalesekes Kaciljaan (Yu-Chi, Huang) and Ta-Chun Hua.
We often see that Indigenous-focused research is excluded from major research programs with the capacity to influence policymaking, ignoring the impact of Indigenous cultural distinctiveness on health disparities. For example, in the annual statistics of health promotion in Taiwan, the authors didn’t separate most disease-related statistics, such as prevalence, incidence, and age distribution of individual diseases, of Indigenous Peoples from the general population. It has been tough to present the extent of the health differences between Indigenous People and the rest of the Taiwanese population in the absence of these essential figures. Lack of information also posed many difficulties for community health practitioners attempting to establish a health promotion plan for undersized Indigenous communities. This phenomenon occurs in Taiwan and many other countries with multiple ethnic minorities.
Written by Shao-Yun Chang (張韶韻) and Hang-Tang Chen (陳翰堂). Since their labour was first viewed as a supplement to the domestic labour market, Southeast Asian migrants have become indispensable to the manufacturing, agricultural, fishing, and care industries over the last three decades. While the initial foreign population was primarily Thai and Filipino workers, Vietnamese and Indonesian workers are now taking over factory jobs, farm work, and caring for seniors and the disabled.
Written by Chia-Shuo Tang. This article is a story about Taiwan’s multi-million US dollars health aid in an African country and its aftermath. It involves two hospitals, some doctors, several aid agencies, and a global pandemic intersecting at the dawn of the 21st century. In addition, this story is about how a Taiwanese hospital turned a bilateral medical aid mission into a non-governmental endeavour after severing diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Written by Ian Inkster. When attempting a summary prediction of Taiwan’s political economy in January of 2019, I admitted that even annual forecasting can look very foolish, especially during the decline in democratic systems perceived at that time and the importance of complex external commercial relations to the country’s growth and welfare. The forecaster turns idiot with awful speed. I asked to be forgiven during the gentle days of Chinese New Year! Like everyone, I did not predict the coming Covid 19.