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2020 Global Health Forum in Taiwan

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2020 Global Health Forum in Taiwan: Undeterred by the COVID-19 Pandemic, Nearly 400 Foreign Attendees Participated in Online Interaction to Share Strategies on Healthcare in the Post-Pandemic Era 
    The “2020 Global Health Forum in Taiwan” took place from October 23 to 24 of 2020. Jointly organized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the theme of this year’s forum was “Achieving SDGs in the Post-COVID-19 Era: Innovation, Inclusion and Partnership”. 
    Faced with the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Forum of 2020 will incorporate discussions and examinations into the impacts of the viral outbreak on Sustainable Development Goals, followed by demonstration of resilience and humanity of the healthcare system, society and economy to cope with the post-COVID-19 pandemic era, as well as addressing new challenges to existing issues such as non-communicable diseases, environment, health equity and international cooperation. In response to the challenges of global travel imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the Forum featured both physical and virtual meetings, an unprecedented feat in the history of the event. There were 600 participants who attended the physical meeting, as well as 24 international experts from Europe, United States, Australia and Japan that have participated through online teleconference; nearly 400 participants from 60 nations also attended the forum virtually and watched live streaming of the sessions, totally to nearly 1,000 participants for this year’s Forum.
Achieving SDGs in the Post-COVID-19 Era: Innovation, Inclusion and Partnership
    The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the economy over 188 countries and regions worldwide. According to the United Nationals report on the impacts of COVID-19 on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the progress of all SDGs have been affected by the pandemic, with the effects being most severe for the poorest and most vulnerable populations. How to address the impacts of the current pandemic and prepare for future pandemics have become the top priority of every nation in the world. The “Taiwan Model” has demonstrated itself as one of the few examples in the world where the pandemic has been successfully controlled. Prof. Chien-Jen Chen, former Vice President of Taiwan and Academician of the Academia Sinica, stated that the key to Taiwan’s success in pandemic prevention was “solidarity” of the society. Through prudent action, rapid response, early deployment and transparency, the government of Taiwan tackled the threat of the pandemic, implementing novel technology into every facet of pandemic prevention, such as quarantine, isolation and distribution of resources (like face masks) through transparent real-name basis. Prof. Chen also pointed out that in the post-COVID-19 era, zero-contact economy with zero-distance innovation based on information technology and artificial intelligence will become increasingly relevant, and the key to progressively achieving SDGs is global solidarity through mutual trust and international collaboration. 
    Prof. Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the Institute of Health Equity at the University College London of United Kingdom, indicated that the pandemic has pronouncedly exposed the underlying issues of societal and health inequalities, and that tackling the health gaps will need solid evidence and the actions from the whole of the society. When developing national policies to address health inequalities, the social gradient must be taken into consideration, and that inclusive actions are needed to fulfill the United Nation’s commitment to “leave no one behind.”
Experts Across Time Zones and Regions Gathered to Discuss the Future of Global Health in the Post-Pandemic Era    
As the global pandemic have resulted in numerous challenges in the daily life of the public, the Forum also invited interested individuals to attend virtually. The two-day forum also featured various parallel sessions with in-depth discussion into issues like innovative technology for SDGs, Active Ageing, future prospect of integrated healthcare for ageing population, children’s and environment health, innovative ageing services, person-centered healthcare and future of health promoting hospitals. Cross-discipline partnership was also a key theme of the forum, such as the Healthy Weather e-Platform, one of the winners of the 2020 Taiwan Presidential Hackathon, is a joint collaboration between the Health Promotion Administration and Central Weather Bureau, demonstrating cross-sectoral, private/public partnership to provide integrated weather and health information to the public. This year also marked the second year collaboration between the Taiwan’s Environment Protection Administration and the United States’ Environment Protection Agency, in which officials and experts from both country met virtually to discuss children’s health from the perspectives of health and environment, and served as a prime example of partnership across sectors and borders.

Further readings:
2020 Global Health Forum in Taiwan Website
Impact of COVID-19 on SDG progress: a statistical perspective (United Nation)
2020 Taiwan Presidential Hackathon – Healthy Weather e-platform
2020 Global Health Forum in Taiwan Presentation Materials

2020 Global Health Forum in Taiwan - 10/23 Convention Hall

2020 Global Health Forum in Taiwan - 10/24 Conventional Hall

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