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Medical volunteers from Taiwan provide assistance to St. Jude Hospital

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Contact: Embassy of Taiwan

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 A Taiwanese delegation of 6 medical volunteers and 2 administrative personnel arrived in Saint Lucia on Saturday, 21st of November to work at St. Jude Hospital for a period of 3 weeks at the time when most of the overseas volunteers had cancelled their trips. This is another joint effort project between the governments of Saint Lucia and the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the area of health and medical cooperation conducted by St. Jude Hospital and its twin hospital in Taiwan, the Changhua Christian Hospital.

Immediately after their arrival at the Hewanorra Airport Saturday afternoon and detailed discussions with the managerial team of St. Jude Hospital, the volunteers embarked on an orientation tour to the makeshift St. Jude Hospital at the George Odlum Stadium, and subsequently to the old hospital site.

On the morning of Monday, 23rd of November, a welcome ceremony was held for the volunteer team from the Changhua Christian Hospital in Taiwan. Present were Honourable Arsene James, the Acting Prime Minister and H. E. Tom Chou, the Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and officials from the two governments, management and staff of St. Jude Hospital. On behalf of Honourable Stephenson King, the Prime Minister, the government and people of Saint Lucia, Acting Prime Minister Arsene James cordially extended his warm welcome to the Taiwanese volunteers. He recalled his wonderful visit to Taiwan earlier this year and witnessed the high standard hospital system there, the hospitality and commitment of the Taiwanese people, just to name a few. He wished the volunteers a memorable stay in Saint Lucia, to contribute their expertise to the St. Jude Hospital, and in the meantime bring back what they learn here to enrich their careers.

Ambassador Tom Chou started his remarks by saying a friend in need is a friend indeed. He had been guided to tour the makeshift hospital at the George Odlum Stadium before the ceremony and impressed with the efforts that the staff had undertaken to transform it into a field hospital within such a short time. He continued to elaborate that the Embassy had coordinated with the government of Saint Lucia and St. Jude Hospital to match the two hospitals to sign a twinning agreement on 8th July, and as a result, this group of volunteers arrived in response to an urgent request from St. Jude Hospital in October, at the time of serious manpower shortage when most of the overseas volunteers had cancelled their trips to St. Lucia in the aftermath of the fire at St. Jude Hospital on the early morning of 9th September. Ambassador Chou was convinced that this group of volunteers will pave the way for further bilateral exchanges of visit and training programmes. At the end of his short speech, Ambassador Chou surprisingly announced a donation of EC$3,000 as a token to acknowledge the contribution and commitment of the staff of St. Jude Hospital in the past few years, especially at the time of the fire, the courageous and heroic rescue actions demonstrated by some of their anonymous staff members.

Mr. Percival McDonald, the Chairman of the Board of St. Jude Hospital, after welcoming the first volunteers from the Changhua Christian Hospital, St. Judes sister hospital in Taiwan; he recalled his surprise relief and appreciation when he saw two technical consultants sent by Ambassador Tom Chou to the site a few hours after the fire. In ten days time, he had been briefed by the Taiwanese consultants on the reconstruction of the burned down building. Mr. McDonald also emphasized that with the help of the Taiwanese Embassy, the government had already received a comprehensive and revised master plan of the brand new St. Jude Hospital for consideration in just two month after the fire. A technical meeting has been set for Tuesday, 24th November, and hopefully some good news may be pronounced by the government soon.

Dr. Nina Kao, the Coordinator of the Changhua Christian Hospital Volunteer Project, expressed her heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity to promote the bilateral medical and health cooperation programme between the two countries. She briefed the audience that the first group of three members of the technical staff from St. Jude Hospital had finished a three-month bio-technical training programme at the Changhua Christian Hospital in Taiwan. A second group of four members of St. Judes medical and nursing staff are currently undergoing a three-month training at the Changhua Christian Hospital and is scheduled to returned to St. Lucia by early December. She firmly believed that both sides would benefit a lot from this model of cooperation.

Other members of the management, medical and nursing staff expressed their sincere welcome to the volunteers from Taiwan and wished them a wonderful experience and service at the hospital. They looked forward to many more exchanges of visit between the staff of the two medical institutions in the future.

Following is the name list of volunteers and administrative personnel from the Changhua Christian Hospital:

1. OB/GYN Dr. Chen, Yu-Ching
2. Emergency Room Doctor Dr. Chiu, Chun-Wen
3. Pediatrician Dr. Yang, Tuan-Ching
4. Internal Medicine Dr. Wu, Yu-Cheng
5. Pathologist Dr. Tai, Hui-Chun
6. Emergency Room Nurse     Mr. Su, Po-Hsi
7. Coordinator Dr. Nina Kao
8. Journalist Mr. Chen, Wei-Chien

The Changhua Christian Hospital is a 1600-bed teaching hospital located in central Taiwan, employing over 3,800 people and receiving approximately 5,000 patient-visits daily. St. Jude Hospital signed an Agreement of Twinning with the Changhua Christian Hospital on 8th July, 2009. According to the agreement, both medical institutions agree to undertake a comprehensive exchange of information on the health sector, provision of international volunteers and to facilitate the increase in knowledge of health care professionals through the conduct of seminars and professional training and exchanges of staff on the basis of equality and reciprocity.

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