Since the worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at the end of December 2019, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) has combined the resources of several public health projects with the expertise of its partner hospitals in Taiwan. Through the collaboration, TaiwanICDF has provided much assistance for Taiwan’s partner countries based on individual pandemic situations and needs. At present, TaiwanICDF has cooperated with Paraguay, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Kingdom of Eswatini, to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating "Taiwan can help!"
TaiwanICDF is currently working with countries around the world to promote information sharing on pandemic prevention among the governments and medical institutions of Taiwan’s allied countries. Besides coordinating a video conference held by Cathay General Hospital in Taiwan to share its experience in preventing COVID-19 with the Ministry of Health in Paraguay, TaiwanICDF has also assisted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organize webinars with the National Taiwan University Hospital and Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in Taiwan for other partner countries to exchange experiences on COVID-19 prevention measures. In addition, TaiwanICDF has arranged for Dr. Hung-Yi Chiou, TaiwanICDF’s public health adviser, and Taipei Veterans General Hospital to review the infection control documents and anti-pandemic policies of health facilities for the Ministry of Health of St. Christopher and Nevis, aiming to assist its partner countries in combating COVID-19 more effectively. Furthermore, there is an effort to guide medical personnel to better understand COVID-19, through workshops on the care of kidney patients. These workshops are provided by the Project for Strengthening Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Prevention and Control System in Nicaragua, and train medical personnel on monitoring patients’ health situations more rigorously, and providing immediate consultation or referral services when giving treatments to high-risk groups who have diabetes, hypertension, or CKD.
To strengthen the capacity of partner countries in fighting COVID-19 in both government and health facility level, the Project for Promotion of Medical Technology for Improvement of Maternal-Neonatal Health in Guatemala used local materials to make 200 face shields to provide protection for Guatemalan medical personnel. Additionally, the Health Information Management Efficiency Enhancement Project (Phase II) for Paraguay aims to assist the Government of Paraguay in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic through developing a new function on tracking COVID-19 high-risk groups, which has been rapidly incorporated into the current health information system (HIS). Furthermore, Yi-Pei Lu, a TaiwanICDF volunteer stationed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, assisted the Ministry of Health of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in using GIS for disease mapping, and mapped the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Caribbean. As a result, the Ministry of Health of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is now able to see real-time data of the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
To promote public health education, the Maternal and Infant Health Care Improvement Project in the Kingdom of Eswatini (Phase II) uses media to share information on maternal and child self-health care and COVID-19 prevention. This is done through a weekly radio program on maternal and child health education, and through publications in the Eswatini Observer newspaper. The Capacity Building Project for the Prevention and Control of Diabetes Project in St. Vincent and the Grenadines uses a mobile diabetes health education vehicle to provide guidance on diabetes self-care and COVID-19 prevention. In addition, Ya-Chen Lin, a nursing volunteer based in St. Christopher and Nevis, demonstrated the correct way to wear a mask to chronic outpatients through the public health education program. Zi-Xuan Lin, a nutrition volunteer stationed in Palau, taught students proper handwashing and also created leaflets on diet and nutrition during COVID-19 pandemic prevention, which guides people on dietary principles while at home. Through localized efforts, more people are able to learn about pandemic prevention to improve safety methods and prevention.
Taiwan has fully utilized ICT for early deployment against and effectively control COVID-19, which has attracted international attention. During the WHA meeting, TaiwanICDF and Terre des hommes (Tdh), a Swiss INGO, jointly conducted a webinar on “Contact Tracing Technology Applications in Tackling COVID-19.” This approach broke through geographical restrictions and allowed Taiwan to share its successful experience in using ICT to contain COVID-19. Through the webinar, TaiwanICDF also united experts from the industry, government, and academic sectors including Dimagi, a social enterprise of IT industry in the US, Luke International, a Norwegian INGO, and various government officials, to exchange experiences on the effectiveness of applying ICT in preventing COVID-19, demonstrating Taiwan’s continued active cooperation with the world.