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32th issue by NPUST on September 2012

National Health Insurance (NHI) system in Taiwan, called in Chinese “健保卡”, is the most fantastic health care service that I have ever touched. Its relative price is incredibly cheap and user-friendly. All foreigners will be well provided after moving to Taiwan at least four months. A huge number of foreigners and Taiwanese people make use of health care service funded by the Taiwan’s government through the NHI. I have no idea about the ins and outs of the Taiwanese health care service, however I have more experiences in using it and would like to share my personal experience with it. 

Taiwanese health care is set as the global fundaments; availability, efficiency, effectiveness, and reasonable price. The report of medical billing and coding (2012) noted that Taiwan is one of the top nine health care systems in the world. Taiwan is ranked as number seven, followed by Japan, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Netherlands. Since Taiwan had more prosperous economics during the 1980s and 1990s, the country was enforced to overhaul the health care system. Everyone can equally access into the NHI system with minimal waits and free choice of doctors before receiving care. The Taiwan’s smart card of NHI system not only let doctors view a background and medication of a patient, but allows the concerned personnel to know whether the patent abuses the system or not.

Hello everyone, first off all I would like to introduce myself. My name is Korawit Chaisu and I am a second year Ph.D. student in Food Biotechnology, Department of Tropical Agriculture and International Cooperation (DTAIC), National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST). My research is focus on bioplastic.

I will talk about my experience in the field of health care in Taiwan. In my case, I would like to talk about my dental experience in Taiwan because every year I have to check my teeth or go to clinic. My senior student recommended me to go to the clinic near the campus. I followed his instructions and went to that dental clinic.

 At That time, I think it would be ok because I could speak Chinese. However, when I went there, I realized that I couldn’t understand what the Taiwanese dentist said. He did not say anything in English. Then I asked my senior student to translate for me. After I filled in the application form in Chinese before the doctor checked my teeth. He scaled my teeth for half an hour and I will try to stand up but my teeth were not a stopper. I told him, for upgraded again and make a balance in my teeth. I thought he was very old. In addition, his technique and his eyes were poor.

A good health condition is the primary goal for any individual to be successful. Health is a word with a significant meaning that can mean a lot for some, but time constraining for others, especially if you’re a student. Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain. The practice of health in Taiwan is one of the utmost brilliant experiences I have had. Early in the morning to the twilight hours of the night there is always a momentum present to heal the body, mind and spirit.

Early in the morning you can see either a young man our old age individual practicing there Ubuntu, Karate, Kun fu our Chinese marital arts. The most funny of them all is that I live at NTU dorm and usually seeing Taiwanese student doing there funny morning exercise dance is a must. On the other hand, there are marital arts classes for free or at a minimal rate.  Another obvious health conscious practice is that each dorm has its own gym.  So an excuse for not being healthy is lame.  Students and the public usually attend their basement gyms or bigger multipurpose sport complexes to swim, dance, or play a sport of their choice. Upon my visit to the National Taiwan University Hospital, I notice that many people were processing the yearly checkup, inclusive of blood pressure, glucose level, weight etc. which clearly indicates that they enjoy being healthy. The national health insurance system in Taiwan and the numerous health providing institutions are defiantly working hand in hand, in the pursuit of best health practices.  Ohh! The choices of food are great (buffet style 365 days). The food choices usually consist of a balance diet of vegies, fruits, staples, meat and bread. The above are just a few physical health practices seen by myself. This has made me more health conscious, to live a longer life.

Studying abroad brings me many opportunities as well as challenges. During my first year in Taiwan, I have exposed myself to different foreign cultures and worldviews. I also learn skills to survive in a world which is becoming more globalized due to the increasing interactions and interchanges among different countries. Contrast to these benefits of which my friends in Vietnam might be jealous, I also have to cope with many difficulties which anybody studying abroad at least once experiences. In this brief article, I would like to share some of my healthcare experiences I’ve had so far in Taiwan.

As you might know, life is usually hard for newcomers; especially ones have to live abroad. Luckily, my mother country and Taiwan have many things in common. Therefore, I don’t have as many cultural shocks as my friends from Africa and Latin America do. However, new living environment, new friends and pressures of study also had some sorts of effects on me while my body took time to adapt to these changes.

During a couple of first weeks at Mingchuan University, I was sleepless at night. The consequences of this were that I was usually late for morning classes and felt tired, asleep all the time in class. I had been trying many ways to get myself asleep at night such as showering with hot water before going to bed or taking some exercises, rearranging my bed; however none of these worked. As a last resort, I went to the clinic located in the school campus. The woman who was a nurse and a therapist as well listened to my concerns about my sleeplessness. She told me that I had nothing to worry about; this was simply due to changes of environment and minor tensions of study. She recommended using Chinese massage to relax my body. My curiosity was aroused by the word “Chinese massage”, so I agreed to try it. A painful process started when she used a spoon to scratch different places on my body like neck, back and forehead. As the same time, she applied some hot mint oil to them. During her “treatment”, I had to hold my breath and my hands grasped the chair which I was sitting on to restrain the pain coming out. The moment her spoon touched my skin, I just wanted to scream but I didn’t do that because I didn’t want people in the room to look at me as if I had been a coward. After a while, my body was totally relaxing and my mind was covered with subtle mint oil smell. I felt much better and relieved. She also gave me an advice that I should change the pillow I was using because it made my neck and my shoulders fixed and hard. I went back to my dorm and exchanged my pillow for a lower and more comfortable one. That night and many nights later I sleep soundly. The period I had to stay on my bed, tossed and turned was just over. Now I am able to sleep well no matter how busy I am. As my friends said, it’s worth trading in my back, neck tortured for deep sleeps. It’s my first funny healthcare experience on this island.

My name is David de la Bastida, I am Ecuadorian pursuing a master degree in NTHU (IMPISA). I arrived to Taiwan on August 28th 2011 and I want to share with you, dear audience, what I have perceived about health care in this beautiful country.

First of all, I have to tell you something very important, I have diabetes. According to Wikipedia “diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced”. Low carbohydrates diet, regular exercise and a professional medical support are necessary in order to control diabetes. The first two points depends completely on your own behavior, but the third one depends on your doctor and the medical services available in your location. In the next paragraphs I will write about my experience about health services in Taiwan related especially to my life condition. I hope these lines give the readers a vision about the great quality of medical assistance available here.

Nihao everyone

It is a great privilege and opportunity to have this chance to share my personal experience about the health care system in Taiwan. I am a first year IMBA student studying at NTHU and I am from Kiribati, a group of 33 small islands located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Everything that I’m going to say here is not bias but express exactly what I have felt about Taiwan medical services. My story took me back to the middle of my winter break in Taipei early this year when suddenly felt the pain predominantly in my back. The pain seriously attacked my back that could hardly make me walk, eat or even speak.

It was on a Sunday afternoon when this accident happened and I was really lucky that I was there with my friends from my country. They were so panic and looked for the nearest medical center for assistance but all were closed, fortunately one of my friends told me that Wanfang hospital also opened on a Sunday as she had been there once. Since the pain was getting worst we couldn’t wait any longer therefore we went directly to that hospital. Everyone on the way we met was so helpful and one lady directed us to an emergency counter and they were like few people already there sitting.  The receptionist helped us and she was indeed nice and of great assistance. After being interviewed I was asked to wait among the patients for my name to be called. I waited for about five minutes or less until I heard my name. Someone directed me to the female doctor. Again the doctor did a brief interview and everything was quick when I compared to the hospital services back in my country. After being diagnosed I was given a vaccine on the spot to help stop the pain. Luckily the pain immediately gone and so felt relieved. She prescribed three different types of medicine that must be taken within 5 days and asked me to come back again after finishing all the prescribed medicine. The day came and I went alone to the hospital as I wanted to try it by myself. Actually when I reached there I was totally nervous and scared too however all the people I sought help from were all helpful and I was thankful that not even a single person was unwilling to help out. I just proved that day what I had heard from many friends and foreigners the kindness of Taiwanese.

Hello everyone, I am Monica Zepeda from Honduras. I am a student of the International Master in Business Administration (IMBA) at National Tsing Hua University, and I would like to share with all of you my personal experience about health care in Taiwan.

Yes I have given a really good use to the health care system in Taiwan. I have gone to the hospital more than twice and it is quite different from my home country. Usually doctors in my home country take around thirty minutes for each patient. You begin by telling them the entire story about why you came to see them, everything about your first symptoms, then looking for a pharmacy to buy your pills and if you are not one of the first three patients on the waiting list you are going to be almost all night waiting to be assisted.

Just a few days when I got to Taiwan I got sick with fever and lost my voice. One of my friends from Honduras who came with me called our project manager and asked her if she can take me to the clinic. When we got there, there were a lot of patients and I just started to think that this was going to take us like around four (4) to five (5) hours at least, but it was really fast. They called each patient so quickly and in less than an hour I was out of there with lots of pills and a really fast check from the doctor.

Introduction Taiwan health care system is unique helping international students to preserve the most valuable asset they possess - the health -, particularly for the highly customized patient assessment service at hospitals, the advanced diagnostic techniques and the medic aid assistance. Therefore students can enjoy a comfortable life and fully dedicate themselves to the studies for successful accomplishment of their goals.
Assessment of patient On July 2012, when one of my classmates checked in to an hospital due to the sleeping disorder, he was deceived learning that the hospital regular services were closed for the day. However, to his surprise, he was routed to the emergency service where doctors would provide him the needed help. When we passed through a hall, there was a well dressed and fit to the task female doctor willing to serve with distinction and professionalism. The young student barely understood why he was suffering from such disease, but for one thing he was sure about; the doctor would help him heal. I could the see the glamour of happiness on his face. Subsequently the doctor asked few questions to comprehend the patient life style pattern. Then followed routine checks a psychologist would run for the illness. It did not take too long for the doctor to figure out that the student was having a short term sleeping disorder and prescribed drugs. Two days later the student’s life was back to normal life, even though he had experienced some side effects (irregular sleeping habit over time). As trivial as this may sound, it bears special a meaning as the patient feels confident, for being in “good hands.” Such effective diagnose and treatment are common to countries where doctors have at their disposal the advancement of bioindustry and keep themselves up to date.

Since I have been in Taiwan, I had enjoyed each and every health care that I received from the first moment I step in the beautiful land Taiwan I had great health care, beginning from the health food that I found everywhere in Taiwan, specifically Tainan . This greatly improved my health and even resulted in my weight gain over a short period of time.

I went through some minor problems, mostly headache which might be a result of change of weather. The convenience of medication I received in Tainan was great, that I could get medication anywhere nearly. This was really wonderful experience and it took me a short time to adjust myself and never went through any headache problem again.

However the table turned around from such wonderful enjoyment that I was going through in Taiwan. I encountered an accident. Encountering a scooter accident was such an awful experience I had in Taiwan during the recently ended summer vacation. This resulted in facial borne fractures that I have to go through surgery.

I was a little bit scared at the beginning but these lasted only for a short time after l began to have treatment. Even from the moment of the accident, it did not take minutes  before an ambulance took me to one of the best and Taiwan’s well  known hospital Cheng Kung University were l went through emergency treatment.  I received immediate treatment and having stitches on my broken face was really great and wonderful. Above all the most important thing was that all this was done immediately before even my friends and people l knows who were notified about the accident were on site.

Since I came to Taiwan, I heard from my new classmates and country mates about the excellent health insurance, I was a little worried because I didn’t get my insurance card until December which was 4 months later after I arrived to Taiwan.

I was trying to take care of myself as much as I can and taking vitamins because I didn’t want to catch a cold and pay the doctor with my money because everyone told me that if you don’t have insurance card is more expensive, but on the season’s change, from summer to winter, I got a flu with infection in my throat and I was afraid of the cost of the doctor without insurance card but I felt so bad that I decided to see the doctor.

After he checked what I had, he gave me so many pills that the only thing in my head was “Money I have to pay” and when they asked me for my insurance card and I said that I don’t have, they gave me the ticket and I didn’t want to see it, but of course I saw how much I have paid. Before I left the clinic, they told me that I have to keep the ticket because when I get my card I have to present it to the Health Department and they will refund part of my money because if you already applied for the Insurance card you have a emergency insurance while they give you the card. I was surprised about that because that was the only thing that no one told me before, so I presented the ticket I got some money from the Health Department and I was very happy.