Taiwan’s medical power shines in SE Asia, helping Philippine patients regain new lives
The Ministry of Health and Welfare of Taiwan and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) organized recently the “Join hands with Taiwan to create a healthy and happy life” webinar, which was held at the Taipei International Convention Center.
During the meeting, five physicians and experts shared the latest medical technology, treatment methods, and services with regard to bone marrow transplantation, reproductive medicine, depression, cerebrovascular disease, and telemedicine consultation with friends in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries to offer more treatment options for patients in need. The event attracted around 900 viewers who participated online and were able to see the live broadcast in real-time.
In her speech, Executive Vice President Elina Lee of TAITRA stated that various countries had recognized Taiwan’s epidemic prevention achievements. To share epidemic prevention information with the international community, TAITRA launched the “Taiwan Global Anti-COVID-19 Pavilion” in June this year. For decades now, Taiwan has already established a sound medical system as it recruited the best medical talents and adapted the best technologies to provide high-quality medical services.
Dr. Chi-Cheng Li, Director of the Center of Stem Cell and Precision Medicine of Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, said that allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is often the ultimate cure for blood cancer or major blood diseases. Before, two unrelated people have only one in ten thousand chances of matching the bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells. But now, through the “half-matched hematopoietic stem cell transplantation technique,” the possibility of successful matching is as high as 90% in relatives, which significantly improves patients’ survival rate.
For 51-year-old Filipino patient Ronel Onag, who recently returned to the Philippines, he graced the event to share his journey and experience recovering from the “half-matched hematopoietic stem cell transplantation” and shed tears of joy. “I am very grateful to Director Chi-Cheng Li and the medical team at Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital for their care and the factory owner and friends for the initial connection. In September of last year, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. It was tough to accept my illness. My wife and I felt very sad and helpless. Fortunately, I have now regained my health with everyone’s help.” He also encouraged other patients not to lose hope and stay positive!
Dr. Pin-Yao Lin, Director of the Department of Reproductive Medicine at Lee Women’s Hospital, shared also a case from the Philippines, Mrs. Li (39 years old). Women who are over 35 and have recurrent miscarriages can improve their embryo implantation rate and pregnancy rate through preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). Mrs. Li also shared her experience of seeking a child through a pre-recorded video. She already experienced two miscarriages before the age of 37 so she decided to undergo PGS for the remaining frozen embryos at the hospital that Dr. Lin recommended. They quickly learned that one of the embryos carry abnormal chromosomes and chose to implant the other two with normal chromosomes to avoid the risk of another miscarriage. She eventually gave birth to twins in 2019 and became a happy mother.
Besides sharing successful cases of superior medical services in Taiwan, the event also invited Cathay General Hospital, Landseed International Hospital, and Medicrowd Smarthealth Co., Ltd. to share psychological and physiological health management and application tools with Chinese people worldwide. Dr. Mao-Xiang Xiao from Cathay General Hospital mentioned a new “r-TMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation)” treatment for depression. The repeated and concentrated magnetic pulses stimulate the brain’s emotional management area allowing neurons to release serotonin and other cognitive function hormones to relieve depression.
Dr. Ping-Sheng Lu, the Neuroscience Center of Landseed International Hospital, said that Asians have a higher risk of cerebrovascular disease than Western people. Reports show that the prevalence rate of cerebral aneurysms in Asian adults is 7%, and with the popularity of imaging inspections, more and more early discoveries are made. Also, unruptured aneurysms treatment by transarterial catheterization is minimally invasive compared with traditional craniotomy.
Finally, President Chin-Tang Wang of Medicrowd Smarthealth stated that more than 1,000 cooperative physicians provide telemedicine consulting services online on their medical network. During the epidemic, this service’s utilization rate increased significantly by 47.8%, of which ENT (increased by 135%) and psychology (increased by 41%) were the most significant. President Wang emphasized that digital healthcare is a global trend, and the new coronavirus disease has accelerated this trend. Taiwan’s achievements in epidemic prevention have attracted worldwide attention, and its medical technology is among the world’s best. This is a new opportunity to globalize Taiwan’s medical services, where the online to offline (O2O) integrated “all-customer” service model will be the future of healthcare.