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32th issue by NPUST on September 2012

It had been one year I stay in Keelung, study my master degree of Aquaculture in National Taiwan Ocean University. Everything was going well at the beginning I arrived here, the food, water, people, the culture and the life style. If I would like to complain something, then it will goes to the weather.

You will never believe how terrible the weather in Keelung, at least for me it is. Almost I feel I grow on molt and fungus because of the humid during the winter season. What getting worst was my skin start to feel itchy and some red spot grow on my arm, leg and also around my neck. I totally have no idea what happen and the itchy make me feel very bad. I went to the doctor in Keelung hospital, also she couldn’t find out the reason of the itchy and red spot. She gave me some cream and pill, also took my blood sample for checking. After one week gone, the itchy and red spot still remain but my blood test result is normal for everything. I am getting worry, what exactly happen to my body.

My senior in my lab bring me to go for another doctor in Keelung when she saw my condition didn’t has any change even after one week. According to her, the doctor is very famous in Keelung for the dermatology. Again, I got the pill and cream from the doctor. But this time, the pill and the cream work, or I should say the doctor is good. However, after the pill and cream, the itchy again was attacking me. I went to the doctor again, this time she tell me that my skin allergy is due to the changing of the weather. Since my skin is quite sensitive and this is why I will got the itchy and red spot. She advised me not to eat bamboo and also changing my shower gel to sensitive type.  This is what I can do to reduce the itchy and the rest will be depends on my body’s immune system.

My name is Josue Garcia and I come from Guatemala, I’ve been in Taiwan for one year, and this time I would write about my experiences with Taiwan’s health system. In my personal experience, Taiwan offers a very complete and state of the art medical system. In the very few situations I’ve needed the assistance, either for general health check ups or for having a cold or minor discomfort I’ve been taken care of immediately and with satisfactory results.

For foreigners residing in Taiwan, a national health insurance is provided, and with it, the medical fares of each visit to the doctor gets considerably reduced, not only that but, this insurance has a very wide coverage, it doesn’t only provide benefits for basic usage, but you can also take advantage of it while seeing specialists such as dentists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, etc. and still paying just a minimum fare.

What is also impressive of this country’s medical system is that it is very efficient, and paying a very low amount per month provides you with innumerable benefits and services. When paying an additional minimum amount per visit to the doctor, the medicines you’ll need to recover from whatever it is that you are suffering of are also included for the duration of the required treatment.

I can also say that the medical attention I get every time I have to use this service is very good, and that everyone seems pleased to help you, and they show their interest in helping you get better.

Through the entire country, every health establishment, from small clinics for minor situations to huge hospitals with every kind of specialists are well signalized with The National Health Insurance emblem so you can know before entering the facilities if you can make good use of your insurance benefits. 

Hi I am Diogenes Castillo from Dominican Republic; I am a second year Master´s Degree Student at the National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU) in Keelung city, Taiwan. Today I would like to share with you my experiences that I have had in Taiwan with regards to my health. I would first like to say that I have not had any serious health problem here, “thank God”. Something I really appreciate at NTOU is that, there are many activities here to maintain and improve your health. If you are the kind of people who likes sports, here you will be able to play most of the common sports; to use the gym and enjoy a lovely big swimming pool.  Therefore, it is simply a matter of using them and eating healthy foods. 

Still, I am not trying to say that everything is perfect for me. I am a foreigner in this country and I have had my highs and lows as I got used to living here.  When I first came to Taiwan, the very long trip and especially the change of the time combined with the Taiwanese food, made me feel quite awful for the first month. I felt this way because the food here is different from the food that I normally eat back home in the Dominican Republic. Also I didn’t know what or where to eat.  I had to search everywhere and try every type of food so learn which ones I liked.  I guess you can understand me when I say that my stomach made me know that it did not agree with this behavior all the time.

What really surprised me here were the Chinese medicine and it´s doctors.  I had a consultation with a magical doctor as I call him. He just takes your pulse and has a look at your tongue and instantaneously he can tell you every single problem that you have without a laboratory test or advanced technology. It dies not even matter if you don’t speak Chinese very well, you will understand his explanation easily (however I recommend you to take somebody else with you, if you don’t speak Chinese at all)! After he tests your health, he will give you some Chinese medicine! It’s a litter plastic bag with a mixture of natural plants.

My English name is Phebian Ina Grant Sagnia and my Chinese name is Chang Fei Bi. The Chang Fei Bi came into existence because it was easier to translate my surname “ Sagnia” and Name “Phebian” but only the first five letters (Phebi) . I am currently enrolled at National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences (NTUNHS) in pursuit of a post graduate degree in International Nursing and Health Science.

My first year and new life in Taiwan started with amazing experiences, like the Welcome Dinner by the Taiwan ICDF, the beginning of a whole new experience so far away from my country, many apprehensive expectations about: food, life style, new friends, and learning more about Taiwan Culture and experiences of the people here. Most exciting and challenging for me has been learning a new and wonderful language despite Chinese being the most difficult I’ve come across so far with its lack of an alphabet and 4 tones of pronunciation. However I happen to love and enjoy learning different languages so it’s still a pleasure for me.                                                                            

I was expecting Taiwan to be so different and strange in comparison my country (The Gambia) but it isn’t really, the only difference is in how much more technologically and developmentally advanced it is. In terms of character, Taiwanese people are just like Gambians- kind, friendly and helpful, they are always there for me all the time especially when am sick. I have had quite a number of episodes of illnesses and have found myself needing to go to the hospital on quite a number of occasions. Luckily for me, my loving, kind and patient Project Manger Ms Lo (whose name I just cannot go without mentioning) has been accompanying me every single time. She has really done a lot for me in my times of sickness and sadness. I am particularly touched and impressed with my healthcare experience in Taiwan, anytime I visit a health personnel I am promptly given an appointment for checkups and follow ups are always done to see if the given treatment is effective and has no side effect or even just to see how am doing coping with recovery. Even if someone wants to see/visit a doctor, the procedure is as simple and quick as visiting the hospital or clinic’s website and making an appointment to which you will be given an automatic reply giving you the Dr’s. Name, date, room number and patient number. All the health personnel are always punctual, competent and always smiling. It is easy to do any kind of investigation you want to do as all resources are intact and reliable. There is no doubt over treatment here in Taiwan because anything that an individual does you will be inform either by mail, phone or in person. There is also the option to choose to see either a traditional Chinese doctor or modern doctor without any hassle as both are readily available.

Among all the thousand doubts and concerns you might have about what you will find and what you will not find in Taiwan there is this little but important one that has to do pretty much with your health.

“What will happen if I get ill?” “Will I be able to find a doctor?” “Where will I find the right medicine?” and among that how can I tell anyone? I don’t speak Chinese!

Four month passed smoothly the first year I arrived to Taiwan and none a single sign of any kind of ill or discomfort, I started to think “this is good I am an Iron woman!”, but no! I haven’t said the last letter when I got ill, luck me!

Fortunately for me Taiwanese medical services are well organized, systematized and technologized, hospitals are easy to find everywhere you can make your appointment with a doctor by internet and even read the profile of the doctor on Internet to see if he or she fulfills your expectations.

Also you have a medical care insurance that covers the price of the medicine, medical check-in and if you have a serious injury maybe more, I’m not that eager to use it such type of circumstances. Still I have used it and I have received the benefits of being a resident in Taiwan.

To protect the persons involved in the incident (in this case, me) let just say that there was a problem for a long period of time with my digestive system, due to the change of diet, who would have known… but in my defense I might say that Taiwanese food is really good.

I’ve decide to write this article as an advice to the new students or to those who had never used the medical service in Taiwan, please take in count this is my personal perception of the system and as all the illness that we can acquire it has my subjective point of view, and I really don’t like to be sick.

One of the first things I saw when coming to Taiwan is how important health care is for Taiwanese people. The very next day of my arrival to the country, they urged me and helped me to go to have a blood test, and once I was already starting classes at university, I had to pass, like all new students, a complete health check made at campus. The results came in a booklet with all the appropriate explanations about the data they collected from my body; it was very helpful. A few days after my arrival, my project manager helped me to have a provisional health insurance, and six months after living in Taiwan, I got a complete health insurance from the National Health Insurance, so I only have to pay NT$100 if I need a consultation or some treatment; everything is covered if it is not too serious or expensive. For example, I go to the dentist on a regular basis for dental checks and once I had a dental emergency: in all cases I was well treated and I had to pay only NT$100 each time; I only have to show my National Health Insurance electronic card, which has information about me.

I have had only two experiences at hospitals in Taiwan: the first time being when I had the blood test I mentioned before, and later when I helped the new students to have theirs. In both cases, although in different hospitals, the facilities were immaculate clean, the equipment new and the staff very friendly and professional.

At my university, we also have a health center, with a doctor who is available for general medical consultation. So far I have never needed to go there, but I’ve been told the medical practice there is good.

When it comes to the patient, he or she is as an important source of information on medical problems or situations that in turn grab the attention of preventative public health agencies and are not considered as the only problem to solve.

Taiwan is a country with a good amount of research activity in preventive health care, and has constituted itself in one of the main countries in the world that combines human effort and technology to help prevent diseases that benefits all its inhabitants, being nationals or foreigners without exception.

The quality of care offered in public and private hospitals constitute a high level excellence in the health care services of this noble nation, because of the professionalism and diligence demonstrated by their doctors, nurses and administrative staff, all which are routine in Taiwan.

The hygiene and subtle scent of their health centers such as the medical consultation wings and hospitalization wings give us the feeling that we are not in a hospital, but rather in, a mall or in a great hotel. The classic "medical smell sanatoriums" characteristic in Latin America is not common in these parts of the world.

When one attends a hospital it is a pleasure to appreciate a small desk that has an electronic blood pressure meter (For us Latin Americans, perhaps of our eating habits, we might have a slightly higher blood pressure to usual compared to the local Taiwanese). When a patient uses it and it detects the pressure above the "normal" range it sounds an alarm to alert the medical staff of the situation. The sound would be similar to firemen’s alarm in a big fire as of saying, "to come check on the patient."

Taiwan, as one of the most developed countries in the world, is very concerned about the health conditions of its citizens. Because of this, on March 1995 the government created the National Health Insurance, with the purpose of providing the population with a wide range of services, so that people could have a better quality of life. Indeed, the initiative has succeeded, as the National Health Insurance not only provides health assistance to all the population but also provides services such as, dental services, Chinese medicine, prescription drugs, nutrition counseling, universal coverage, comprehensive benefits, convenient access to treatment and much more.

I have been in Taiwan for several years, so I’ve had the opportunity to experience the health insurance in Taiwan.  I have visited the doctor many times in Taiwan and as weird as it sounds, I just love it. Why? To start with, the facilities are really modern and well equipped, the waiting time is relatively short, and to top it off, nice and highly qualified staff who are more than happy and willing to support you in any situation.

Taiwan and Honduras are very different in many aspects, one of the most important aspects being the health system. In Taiwan, there are lots of hospitals and clinics everywhere, making the visit to the doctor really convenient. On the other hand, in Honduras, if you want to go to the hospital you will have to travel long distances, in some cases it can even take days to get to the nearest hospital and you run the risk to find the hospital closed. 


In the same manner, in Taiwan if you go to the hospital and make an appointment, you will get to see the doctor the same day, but in Honduras you will have to make an appointment six months in advance if you want to see the doctor.  In Taiwan, due to the National Health Insurance everyone has the right to be healthy, in other countries health seems to be a privilege that only few can reach.

My name is Heber David Lopez Colman; I come from Paraguay and I am twenty-four years old. First of all, I want to thanks the ICDF organization for the support and for giving me the opportunity to develop my education, especially for giving me a dream that could come true.

As a child I was always encouraged by my parents to follow traditions and topics in which I could develop myself. From a young age I started to have interest in health and all related to it.

From this early self-seeking of further information to what I was learning through regulated studies, I started to read information that would allow me to do so, which was at the same time driving me to start having interest in Engineering and Science.

My interest continued growing and it gave a big jump when I was received the opportunity to learn language skills in Chinese Mandarin with the desire to apply new technologies for the development of Paraguay, taking me to study Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management in the National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), one of the most prestigious institutions in Asia.

Now, regarding the opportunity that Taipei Medical University and International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) is providing with this program, I am continuing my education into the international master program in Health Care Administration.

My experience with Taiwan’s health care during my first year in this country has been good.   I find the system very different with the one back home in terms of availability, costs and efficiency. I find it very convenient in terms of the location of the clinics and the fact that you don’t have to go to drug stores to buy your medicine.

In my home country, going to the doctor is almost one afternoon lost. The doctors are good, but the system is so slow, you have to wait hours for your turn and after that, even though you have health insurance you have to go to a drug store to buy your own medicine, which is very expensive in most of the cases.

My first doctor’s appointment was very gratifying for me; I went with a Taiwanese friend who helped me speak with the doctor. Besides that, I only waited like 10 minutes for my turn, the doctor examined me quickly and they gave me my medicines all in the same place and for a very reasonable price.

One of the major problems I have found during the different visits to doctors has been the language barrier. Most of the doctors spoke English, but not so fluently so it made the patient – doctor communication a little difficult. Even though all doctors have their own nurse assistant, which sometimes help them translate what the patient wants to say, I always struggled trying to get the doctor to understand my questions.