World Medical Association calls for Taiwan to be given observer status at World Health Assembly

Physician representatives from the World Medical Association have again called for Taiwan to be given observer status at the World Health Assembly, which starts next week.

At its meeting in Divonne-les-Bains, France, this weekend, the WMA Council strongly criticised Taiwan's continued exclusion from the World Health Organisation.

Dr Yoram Blachar, chair of the WMA Council, said: 'The current situation concerning Taiwan is posing a real risk to public health. Here we have a country with a population of 23 million people being prevented from taking part in WHO activities and from receiving health information from the WHO.

'With the continuing threat of Avian flu, Taiwan is being denied access to vital health information from the WHO. This exclusion defies all logic.

'It is time that Taiwan was welcomed to the global health world. We want Taiwan to be able to participate in all the technical meetings of the WHO without the bureaucratic barriers that are there now.

'This is not about the legal status of Taiwan. It is about everyday health care and physicians' duty to treat everybody without discrimination. It is time that we treated this as an issue of the protection of human health and not as an issue of politics.'