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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : The ‘right to health’ goal and a role for Taiwan



Source: The Hindu

  • Prelims: Current events of national importance, Government policies, Covid-19, pandemic treaty).
  • Mains GS Paper II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementations etc



  • Countries have stepped up efforts to achieve health and well-being for all and further the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose progress was impacted by the pandemic.





  • According to the WHO, a pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations.


  • An epidemic is a large outbreak, one that spreads among a population or region.
  • It is less severe than pandemic due to a limited area of spread.



  • The novel coronavirus outbreak in 2019-2020 with the nickname COVID-19 is a new strain of viruses which can cause fever, cough, breathing difficulties, pneumonia and even death in humans.
  • WHO: It declared COVID-19 infections as a public health emergency of international concern and later called it a pandemic.
  • RNA virus: Coronavirus consists of an RNA genome and is one of the largest in the RNA family.
  • Single stranded: Coronaviruses are enveloped and contain single-stranded positive-sense RNA.


WHO’s five priorities for the subsequent five years(5P’s):

  • Promoting health
  • Providing health services
  • Protecting health
  • Powering progress 

Taiwan Healthcare:

  • It fully supports health-related SDGs and the World Health Organization’s ‘Triple Billion targets’.
  • Building a more resilient and equitable health service supply chain,
  • Maintaining an inclusive and equitable universal health coverage system
  • Providing disease prevention and management through a robust primary health-care system.
  • Share its experience in creating a cross-sectoral, innovative, and people-centered health approach.
    • To help the international community work toward the realization of health-related SDGs.


Taiwan’s pandemic response:

  • COVID-19 pandemic: Mitigated the spread of the disease by leveraging its comprehensive public health-care system, well-trained personnel, and epidemiological surveillance, investigation, and analysis systems.
  • Taiwanese people:
    • Followed appropriate social behavior
    • Followed quarantine regulations
    • Getting vaccinated.
  • In the 38 OECD member states and Singapore: Taiwan ranks sixth-lowest in COVID-19 mortality and case-fatality rates.
  • Taiwan ranks fourth-highest for coverage rates of at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose
  • Third-highest in terms of vaccine boosters administered.


Steps taken by Taiwan(can be used as guide by other countries):

  • Universal health-care insurance system (1995) which provides disease prevention and health-care services for all.
    • These include:
      • prenatal checkups
      • gestational diabetes screening
      • anemia testing
      • three ultrasound examinations to reduce pregnancy risks and promote maternal and infant health.
    • To assist infertile couples and reduce the financial burdens of in-vitro fertilization
      • The government has to expand subsidized infertility treatment programmes.
    • It aims to create a breastfeeding-friendly environment and provide preventive pediatric health care and health education.
    • Prevention and management programmes for non-communicable diseases which include:
      • targeting chronic metabolic diseases help assist at-risk groups
      • diet and exercise guidance
      • smoking and betel nut cessation information to empower people.
    • Taiwan supports the global fight against cancer and WHO ’s goal of reducing cancer mortality by 25% by 2025.
    • In line with WHO’s Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative Taiwan subsidies cervical screenings and human papillomavirus vaccinations.
    • Taiwan’s National Health Insurance offers financial protection and access to a range of essential services.
    • Taiwan is committed to promoting digital health and innovation to enhance the accessibility and quality of health-care services.
      • Plans for a next-generation NHI programme.
    • Innovative services, utilizing real-time tele-health consultations for remote areas and outlying islands.
    • Taiwan is exploring applications for artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.
    • Pandemic:Taiwan issued 13 export licenses for its herbal formula NRICM101 (Taiwan Chingguan Yihau) to help countries in the region combat the pandemic.
    • Taiwan is currently implementing preventive measures such as strengthening the domestic production of critical drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients to avert future drug shortages.


Way Forward.

  • WHO’s ‘Achieving well-being’, a draft global framework for integrating well-being into public health that utilizes a health promotion approach.
    • It demonstrates its commitment to health for all.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic helped the international community recognise the importance of regional cooperation and digitisation in health care.
  • In the spirit of the SDGs, no country should be left behind — especially not Taiwan, which has made significant contributions to global public health.



Critically examine the role of WHO in providing global health security during the COVID-19 Pandemic.(UPSC 2020) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)