Taiwan and Eswatini concluded a six-year US$12.7 million memorandum of understanding on health care improvement in the African nation, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs March 13.
Signed by ROC (Taiwan) Ambassador Jeremy H. S. Liang and Eswatini Minister of Health Lizzy Nkosi in the capital Mbabane, the pact will see Taipei Medical University Hospital cooperate with various partners in enhancing clinic services, staff training and public health research.
A highlight of the project, which was initiated by President Tsai Ing-wen during her state visit in April 2018 to the Beautiful Kingdom, involves upgrading the skill sets of nearly 100 doctors from Eswatini trained at Kaohsiung City-based I-Shou University in southern Taiwan. This encompasses a series of tailored professional courses aimed at assisting the medicos better serve the communities in which they operate.
During a post-signing ceremony news conference, Liang said the project is a sterling example of the promises made, promises kept philosophy underpinning Taiwan’s diplomatic relations. “It also represents a strong step forward in fulfilling His Majesty King Mswati III’s National Development Strategy 2022.”
Health care cooperation between Taiwan and Eswatini started in 2008 via the Medical Technical Cooperation Agreement. Over the years, the two sides have implemented a variety of large-scale programs, including the two-phase Maternal and Infant Health Care Improvement Project, the soon-to-be-completed Emergency and Intensive Care Unit at Mbabane Government Hospital, and visits by nongovernmental organizations and volunteer groups.
“President Tsai is working tirelessly to ensure the people of Taiwan enjoy affordable and world-class medical care through the National Health Insurance system,” Liang said. “At the same time, she wants the people of Eswatini to benefit from Taiwan’s successful experiences and reap the rewards of improved services and a robust public health system.”
According to the MOFA, Taiwan and Eswatini established diplomatic relations in 1968.The countries have carried out numerous collaborative projects in such areas as agriculture, education, information and communication technology, rural electrification and women’s empowerment.
On Dec. 27, 2018, the Agreement on Economic Cooperation between Taiwan and the Kingdom of Eswatini came into force. Under the accord, priority will be given to developing export processing zones, talent cultivation and technical exchanges, with tariffs on 153 export items from Eswatini immediately reduced to zero or eliminated over time. (SFC-E)