Saint Lucia
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Taiwan – St. Lucia Friendship: A Beacon of Light and Hope (Part Four)

Sylvestre Phillip M.B.E
By Sylvestre Phillip M.B.E

THERE is no doubt, that the friendship between the Government and People of Taiwan and the Government and People of St. Lucia is bearing much ‘fruit’. And we must complement the Taiwanese Ambassador, Peter Chen, and members of his Taiwanese team for ‘germinating and rearing’ the friendship to the extent that St. Lucia is presently experiencing a beacon of light and hope.

Sustainable health development is an area in which Taiwan has shown much interest. Indeed, Taiwan fully supports health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly in St. Lucia, where the health programmes were impacted by COVID-19.

Taiwan is fully supportive of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals of the World Health Organization’s ‘Triple Billion Targets’ (TBT).

Now what are the Triple Billion Targets of the World Health Organization (WHO)? The World Health Organization has set itself three targets to ensure that by 2023 one billion more people would benefit from universal health coverage; one billion more people are better protected from health emergencies; and one billion more people enjoy better health and wellbeing.

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In this regard, Taiwan has established a National Health Insurance (NHI) in order to promote ‘health for all’ in Taiwan.

In St. Lucia, the government is vigorously pursuing Universal Health Coverage with the formal launching of that programme recently with the introduction of Ante-natal Health Care for women in St. Lucia.

The government of St. Lucia is very much aware of the high cost of health care for its people, and is doing everything possible to make free health care available to all.

Now Taiwan has adopted a special fund in which to assist countries like St. Lucia where Taiwanese cooperation has been developed. The fund is known as the ICDF, International Cooperation and Development Fund.

Taiwan is currently utilizing the fund to assist St. Lucia in a ‘Capacity Building Project for the Prevention and Control of Metabolic Chronic Diseases.

Now what are Metabolic Chronic Diseases or Metabolic Syndrome? Metabolic Chronic Diseases or Metabolic Syndrome is a group of conditions that together raise your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and other serious health problems. Metabolic syndrome is also known as Insulin Resistance Syndrome (IRS).

In this regard, John Lin the Taiwan Project Manager for the ICDF and the St. Lucia Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs are collaborating in that ICDF project. The Ministry of Health team includes Dr. Shana Cyr-Philbert, Senior Medical Officer; Dr. Gennie Isaac, Chronic   non-communicable disease point person for the Ministry of Health Wellness and Elderly Affairs, and Dr. Gennie Isaac-Louisy, District Medical Officer, who is the coordinator of the project.

The St. Lucia ICDF project was launched on March 2, 2023 and would last for 4 years ending on March 1, 2027. The objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity for the prevention and control of metabolic chronic diseases in St. Lucia.

Now the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of Taiwan, is to ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of all, at all ages. The implementation areas are Health regions 5, 6, 7 and 8. Now region 5 is the Vieux Fort/Soufriere area, from the Canelles River on the East Coast to River Doree on the South Western Coast of St. Lucia.

Region 6 is that area which encompasses Choiseul and Soufriere; Region 7, which is a very dynamic region encompasses Chopin in Bexon, into Sarrot, Malzaire, Vanard, Millet to Venus, Anse la Raye, Canaries, and back to Roeau. Now Roseau includes communities such as Mon D’or, Jacmel, Morne Cisseaux, Coolie Town, Marigot, Fond Manger and moves back to La Croix Maingot.

Now region 8 encompasses the Castries Basin and its perimeter starts from the Choc Roundabout to the Barre D’ilse. Some of the areas covered by the Region are Cul-de-Sac, Morne Dudon, Balata, Bocage, Castries Proper, Bexon, Odsan, Ravine Poisson, and its surroundings.

Indeed, I have taken the pains of highlighting those areas or communities that will benefit from the Taiwanese Capacity Building Project and Control of Metabolic Chronic Diseases in St. Lucia. The members of those communities have access to Community Health Centres which will be able to dispense of the services of this unique health project of the Taiwanese.

Indeed, the project production includes the Control and Prevention of metabolic chronic diseases. For the control of the project Taiwan will strengthen the capacity for metabolic Chronic diseases and control at medical institutions, which also includes community Health Centres and their respective personnel. And for Prevention, the Taiwanese will enhance the self-management capacities of community members or residents for the prevention and control of heart disease, stroke and other health related diseases such as hypertension.

St. Lucia has every reason to be boastful of the Taiwanese efforts under the effective leadership of Ambassador Peter Chen.

Now Hon. Ernest Hilaire, Deputy Prime of St. Lucia, who visited Taiwan recently, praised the close ties between Taiwan and St. Lucia. According to Hon. Hilaire, “Taiwan is a very good friend of St. Lucia. Taiwan has provided a lot of assistance in St. Lucia’s Agriculture, healthcare, pandemic prevention, creative industry, and cultural exchanges.”

Commenting on Taiwan’s international participation, Hon. Hilaire said: “Our support for Taiwan in the international community is undiminished.” Hon. Hilaire continued, “St. Lucia makes sure that (it) can make a bigger contribution to the global community, as the country is deservedly doing.”

Hon. Ernest Hilaire received strong support from Minister for Health and Wellness, Hon. Moses Jn. Baptiste, who insisted that: “Taiwan continues to be an indispensable partner on the path to global post-pandemic recovery and hopes to work with the WHO and other nations worldwide.”

Hon. Moses Jn. Baptiste made those remarks during his presentation at the 75th World Health Assembly.

There is no doubt, that the government and people of St. Lucia love Taiwan and the Taiwanese team at the Taiwanese Embassy in St. Lucia.