A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:
Since Taiwan has received a great deal of recognition globally for its successful containment of COVID-19, I’ve been looking to interview a medical professional about Taiwan’s response and handling of the Coronavirus. Special thanks to Dr. Han Mingrong (韓明榮) for his help in connecting me with Dr. Brian Chang who is located in Taipei, Taiwan.
I spoke with Dr. Chang about the early steps that Taiwan took to contain the Coronavirus outbreak, and how having dealt with SARS in 2003, the government and the general public in particular was prepared to deal with COVID-19. Note to listeners: my interview with Dr. Chang was pre-recorded. I spoke to him on April 2nd, 2020, which was around the time of the ching ming jie or tomb sweeping weekend in Taiwan. I really appreciate the fact that Dr. Chang took the time out of his busy schedule to speak with me. Right after we spoke, he had planned to travel down to southern Taiwan to observe the tomb sweeping weekend.
Dr. Chang is the acting Secretary General of the Taiwan Medical Association and the Honorary Secretary of the World Organization of Family Doctors of the Asia Pacific Region. He is a specialist in family medicine and community medicine. Dr. Chang has been a Director in a public health center for 11 years.
Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this episode:
- How Taiwan is currently dealing with the Coronavirus
- How Taiwan’s experience with SARS prepared it and its people to deal with COVID-19
- What were the earliest steps that Taiwan took to contain the spread of COVID-19
- How the government of Taiwan clearly communicated and educated its public about that precautions they needed to take regarding COVID-19
- How the public in Taiwan initially reacted when the Coronavirus hit
- How Taiwan’s government instilled confidence in the people of Taiwan
- How Taiwan’s government handled the spread of false news and rumors
- Dr. Chang’s recommendations of when to wear masks
- How the government created educational videos (public service announcements) to inform the public
- The biggest challenges for Taiwan currently in containing the spread of COVID-19
- Fines enacted by the government of Taiwan for the violation of self-isolation rules
- What the U.S. can learn from Taiwan’s handling of COVID-19
- What kind of aid Taiwan is currently offering to help other nations dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic
- What is our best hope to develop a vaccine or to find a cure?
- What medical advice Dr. Chang has for people who are currently under lockdown and trying to stay healthy
Dr. Brian Chang’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/brianclinic/
An article on how Taiwan has been so successful in managing the Coronavirus written by Brian Bih-Jeng Chang and Tai-Yuan Chiu, Ready for a long fight against the COVID-19 outbreak: an innovative model of tiered primary health care in Taiwan: https://bjgpopen.org/content/early/2020/04/07/bjgpopen20X101068
Taiwan’s CDC website (in Chinese characters): https://www.cdc.gov.tw
An example educational video (aka public service announcements) that the government created to inform the public about COVID-19: