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2021 Global Health and Welfare Forum in Taiwan

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2021 Global Health and Welfare Forum in Taiwan

“Sustainable Society”

Health and Welfare in the Era of Pandemic

    As the world gradually recovers from the global COVID-19 pandemic, one of the top priorities of governments around the globe is building back a more resilient and society in the aftermath of the pandemic. The 2021 Global Health and Welfare Forum in Taiwan, co-organized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, featured the theme of “Sustainable Society”, exploring the dimensions, strategies and policies required to achieve this ambitious goal, focusing not only the health and well-being of individuals but also the society as a whole. The Forum took place from October 31st to November 1st, 2021 at the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation International Convention Center of Taipei City, Taiwan. Organized in a hybrid format, the forum featured both in-person and virtual attendance, and the event proceedings were live-streamed online and shared through social media networks. The forum have attracted about 600 attendees, both online and in-person.

Outstanding Contribution Awards to Long-time Forum Contributors

    As a token of gratitude to two of the Forum’s long-term supporting experts: Prof. Bettina Borisch, CEO of the World Federation of Public Health Association; and Prof. Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Tropical Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who had facilitated medical and healthcare exchanges between Taiwan and the international communities for many years. The Forum was honored to present the Global Health and Welfare Forum Outstanding Contribution Award to Prof. Borisch and Prof. McKee. Due to the travel restriction imposed by the pandemic, the experts could not come to Taiwan to accept the awards personally; as a result, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has specially arranged for the awards to be presented in Switzerland and United Kingdom, with assistance from the local Taiwan representative offices. Prof. Borisch has been a long-time forum supporter since 2013, participating in the forum every year since and contributed significantly in enhancing the bond between Taiwan and international NGOs, and frequently co-organized satellite events with Taiwan during the annual World Health Assembly. During the bi-annual Geneva Health Forum, Prof. Borisch also often co-hosted sessions organized by Taiwan. She has always been an invaluable ally to Taiwan on the stage of international academia.

    Since the start of the Global Health Forum in 2006, for nearly 15 years Prof. McKee has become one of the most substantial contributors to the forum, attending the forum in-person every year, whenever possible. He has also provided significant inputs on the themes and topics of the forum, and assisted in inviting speakers and presenters. Prof. McKee has also on many occasions chaired the ministerial roundtables during the Forum, prompting discussions and comments from health officials of Taiwan’s allied nations, and promoted policy and academic exchange. Prof. McKee is always there to hear and lend Taiwan a supporting hand, such as chairing Taiwan’s sessions during the European Health Forum Gastein. Through his introduction, the Europe and the rest of the world can understand the impacts and experiences that Taiwan can contribute to global health and welfare.

Vice President Lai remarked the Path to Sustainable Society through strengthening Social Welfare and Health Policies

    Rebuilding a healthier and more sustainable society in the wake of the pandemic is currently the top priorities of many countries around the world. In his opening address, Dr. Lai Ching-te, Vice President of Taiwan, remarked that the integration of technology and healthcare services formed a critical part of pandemic solutions, whereby digital technology can be utilize to implement various epidemic prevention measures, including maintaining social distancing and vaccination; technology is also one of the critical factors that allow Taiwan to stabilize the spread of pandemic. Additionally, Vice President Lai pointed out that government of Taiwan provides pandemic subsidies to children and households in needs, and resources to maintain operation of social welfare organizations, as well as sufficient supplies to keep social service providers safe and healthy, preventing interruption to social services. Vice President Lai envisaged the continuation of holistic healthcare and preventive health services during the pandemic, and to work collaboratively toward the vision for a better and sustainable society in Taiwan. 

Experts from around the World Engaged in Dialogues to Reflect on Health and Welfare during the Pandemic Era

    The Forum invited 28 worldwide experts from Europe, United States, Australia and Japan, and featured over 600 in-person and virtual participants. As the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the society are far-reaching, the Forum featured 11 parallel sessions, exploring various health issues such as Digital Technology and Precision Health, Precision Epidemic Control, Digital Reform of National Health Insurance, Mental Health, Holistic Healthcare, Sustainable and Healthy Ageing. To emphasize on the significance of social welfare issues, the Forum also included discussions on social welfare policies and dimensions such as Climate Change and Children’s Health, Children and Online Exploitation, Poverty and Social Welfare Services. The Forum hoped to foster cross-border and cross-discipline experience and dialogue exchange, aggregate the insights of everyone to address the challenges and impacts of the pandemic on global public health, and strengthening social welfare and health policies to achieve sustainable development and Health-for-All.

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