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    WHO Past Campaign - Dear Colleague Letter Urging to Cosponsor the new WHO bill

March 1, 2000

Support Observer Status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization

Dear Colleague:

    In the 1994 Taiwan Policy Review, the administration stated its intention to support Taiwan's participation in appropriate international organizations.  One of the most important and appropriate causes for worldwide participation is health care and the fight against deadly
diseases.  But since 1972, Taiwan has not been allowed to participate in the World Health Organization (WHO), an international body whose mission is the "attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health."

    Taiwan's participation in the WHO would benefit both the 22 million people of Taiwan and the rest of the world.   In 1998, seventy Taiwanese children died as a result of a virulent strain of enterovirus, which attacks the body and causes inflammation of muscles surrounding and protecting the brain, spinal cord, and the heart. If the WHO had been allowed to assist, many of these lives could have been saved.  Taiwan also has significant health expertise and resources to offer the WHO, having one of the highest life expectancy rates and lowest infant mortality rates in Asia.

    Congress expressed its support for Taiwan's participation in the WHO by unanimously passing H.R. 1794, signed by the president last December.  We will be introducing legislation to require the American WHO delegation to advocate for Taiwan to receive "observer" status at the week-long World Health Assembly in May.  Taiwan would join other observers including the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Knights of Malta, and the Vatican.  This modest level of involvement is surely appropriate for a population larger than 70 percent of the WHO member nations.  If you have any questions or would like to be an original cosponsor of this legislation, please contact Dave Savolaine (Rep. Brown) at x53401 or Kevin Fitzpatrick (Rep. Chabot) at x52216.


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