World Health Organization (WHO) has passed Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003 and put it into practice in 2005. FCTC is WHO’s first treaty with legal effect of international law. Regulations like a comprehensive ban on all tobacco advertising, price and excise increase, health warning required on package surface and second-hand smoke control are all inclusive in this treaty. It is soon recognized by all countries. Up till today, 181 nations join as Parties to the Convention, among them there are 168 signatories. The convention aims to control tobacco use to defend human right to health for children, pregnant women and general public. Tobacco control is now a global consensus.
According to Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), the definition of chronic diseases is that the health conditions last 1 year or longer and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both. The common chronic diseases include cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. The influence of chronic disease significantly impacts personal well-being, and it is also leading nationally economic cost on certain level. In recent years, the extent of influence from chronic disease has been more and more apparent compared with other communicable diseases. Based on the global status report from World Health Organization in 2014, there were 38 million people died of noncommunicable diseases which is 68% of world population. In particular, among the 38 million people, the proportion of premature death (younger than 70 years old) was over 40%. Gradually, the importance of noncommunicable diseases was formally recognized over years and concluded four major risk factors: tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity.
People in Taiwan rely overwhelmed heavily on medical services due to cultural influences and experiences. On top of that, low healthcare costs, 99.9% coverage offered by National Health Insurance and gradually aging society have all contributed to the phenomena of hospital shopping and polypharmacy.
With the changes in global environment, various countries encountering problems relate to drop in birth rates, rising in adult death rate, increase in non-communicable disease, and aging society. The key to lay a solid foundation for the country's sustainable development is the plan to create “Healthy Cities”. Given Taiwan’s diverse environment, experts and scholars from various fields gathered in the "2019 Global Health and Sustainable Development Forum" to share the secrets of development of “Healthy Cities”.
Drug shortage is a challenge beyond regional borders. It has become a global issue since 2011. Based on the facts of high quality talents, relatively lower labor costs and modern automated factories, Taiwan can provide higher quality generic drugs when the drugs are in short supply. Of all the drugs that are used in the National Health Insurance scheme, 75% are supplied by local manufacturers. More than half of Taiwan pharmaceuticals can swim the tide. It proves that Taiwan pharmaceuticals can do their part for supplying high quality drugs and make changes to the drug shortage issues.
Based on a WHO report, cervical cancer is worldwide the second most frequent cancer in women. The incidence of cervical cancer is the highest in Taiwan so it can be said as an invisible killer to woman health. It is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 25-45. Death rate from cervical cancer is the fourth most lethal in female cancer representing 4% of all cancer deaths which trails lung cancer, liver cancer and colon cancer. Taiwan government launched pap smear screening program in 1995. After more than 20 years now, cervical cancer cases have dropped significantly.
Iodine is an important nutrient and essential to make thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone plays a vital role in regulating all the body cells’ metabolism. It supports carbohydrate metabolism, cell growth, brain development, regulating hormone release and many other body functions. Iodine is even critical to women and infants. Salt iodization is recommended by WHO to prevent and correct iodine deficiency.
Diseases like influenza and tuberculosis are transmitted through droplet viruses and have grave impacts upon Taiwan as we have cities with high population densities. Based on statistics from Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 18,533 people were killed by tuberculosis in 1947, 89 children died because of poliomyelitis in 1982, 78 children died from enterovirus 71 in 1998 and 81 lives taken away by SARS in 2003. Even up until recently, influenza killed 55 people from 2018 October to 2019 February. These terrible numbers tell us that we need to confront the diseases head-on, linking up our medicine knowledge and research techniques with the world.
To free our next generation from the threats of hepatitis B and AIDS, we Taiwanese have made great efforts to reduce mortality rate of hepatitis diseases and reverse younger generation’s view towards AIDS. Hepatitis B is transmitted in some of the same ways as AIDS, which include blood transfusion, sharing needles, tattooing, sex, etc. Based on the understandings towards such similar transmissions, combining predecessors’ efforts and legacy, Taiwan has thus made great contributions on disseminating information, transmission control and surgery performance.