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  • President Ma visits National Hospital of Blaise Compaore and Taiwan-sponsored vocational training center in Ziniare, Burkina Faso
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President Ma visits National Hospital of Blaise Compaore and vocational training center in Ziniare. President Ma Ying-jeou visits National Hospital of Blaise Compaore and vocational training center.
President Ma Ying-jeou spent a second day in Burkina Faso on April 9 on his visit to African allies dubbed "Project Benevolence and Friendship."

In the morning, President Ma was accompanied by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore to visit the National Hospital of Blaise Compaore. Upon arriving at the facility, the hospital's superintendent Alexandre Sanfo and a special advisor from Taiwan's Puli Christian Hospital, Teng Chun-yo (滕春佑), delivered briefings to the two heads of state on the hospital's current operations and the Puli Christian Hospital's provision of operational advisory services.

President Ma and President Compaore then went to the registration desk where hospital staff demonstrated the patient registration procedure. Registration cards were made and presented to both leaders. The two were then led by a guide on a tour through the hospital to see the advanced equipment that has been installed and the results of the medical cooperation project between the two countries.

President Ma and President Compaore also visited a midwife training center at the hospital that has been established by the ROC Medical Mission stationed in Burkina Faso. The two leaders were briefed on the operations of the training center, after which they presented midwife kits to student representatives. President Ma also signed a guestbook with a note to President Compaore that stated: "We visit Africa in the Year of the Dragon. While this is our first visit to Burkina Faso, we feel we are among old friends. Each day many newborns are delivered here. May each household have good luck and peace."

President Ma also mentioned that he was quite impressed by the efforts to greenify the area around the hospital. In remarks, the president stated that this hospital is a virtual replica of a Taiwanese hospital in terms of its hardware and software. He explained that this project is extremely important and has been a very bold attempt at creating a new model for the ROC's foreign medical assistance. President Ma stated that about 70% of the hospital's equipment comes from Taiwan, and many people staffing the hospital hail from Puli Christian Hospital. Even though the hospital has not been in operation for long, the president said he is confident that in the future it will provide outstanding medical and health care services to the people of Burkina Faso, furthermore stating that the ROC will continue to support this project.

In the afternoon, the president toured the Ziniare Demonstration Center for Vocational Training, which was established with support from the ROC. After arriving, the president was welcomed and escorted through the facility by Achille Marie Joseph Tapsoba, the Minister of Employment, Professional Development & Youth. The two also received briefings about the center's operations from representatives of Burkina Faso and Taiwan. President Ma and Minister Tapsoba then visited areas in the facility where students learn about plumbing and electrical repair, woodworking, construction, baking, and power machinery. Students at the center sang the Taiwanese song "Hard Work Equals Winning" in a gesture to welcome the president. The trainees also presented pineapple cakes they made for President Ma to taste. This gesture enabled the president to experience firsthand the results of Taiwan's assistance to Burkina Faso in vocational training, while also allowing him to have a taste of Taiwan even in distant Africa. Before leaving, President Ma wrote in a guestbook, "Cooperation between Taiwan and Burkina Faso helps to transfer technical skills between the two. This creates a strong bedrock and paves the way for a longstanding alliance and friendship." The president encouraged the center to do its best to train even more students to provide the talent needed in Burkina Faso's development.

In the evening, President Ma hosted a banquet at his hotel for ROC citizens living in Burkina Faso, and for the crew of the chartered China Airlines aircraft that is providing service during this trip. The president recognized the contributions of the ROC compatriots living in Burkina Faso to that nation's development and expressed his appreciation to them.

In remarks, President Ma stated that Taiwan's image has begun to gradually change in the international arena. The ROC, he said, is no longer looked upon as a troublemaker or an initiator of dollar diplomacy. Rather, the viable diplomacy policy that he initiated and the principle he has adopted for foreign aid, namely "seeking proper goals, acting lawfully, and exercising effective administration," have been carried out with the hope of enhancing the ROC's image and maximizing the nation's soft power, he said.

The president mentioned that when he took office, a total of 54 jurisdictions provided ROC travelers with visa-free courtesies or landing visas, but this number now stands at 127, which constitutes recognition by the world of the quality of the people of the ROC and a reappraisal of the nation's image, he said. President Ma commented that people from Taiwan provide financial assistance to 310,000 underprivileged children in Taiwan and overseas, and 8% of the population gives blood. These examples show that Taiwan has already grown into the role of a provider of humanitarian aid, he said. The president also recognized the work and contributions made by ROC compatriots living in Burkina Faso, saying that this corresponds to the goal of enhancing Taiwan's soft power.

President Ma explained that since he took office, the ROC has stopped engaging in destructive competition with mainland China in an effort to win allies. Rather, the time and other resources saved as a result can now be utilized to carry out humanitarian aid, he said. This policy, the president said, also enables personnel from the ROC stationed abroad to take a principled stand in their work and say "no" when necessary.

Lastly, President Ma emphasized that ROC compatriots living in Burkina Faso have provided assistance in promoting the government's "Light for Africa" project, establishing the vocational training center, and providing medical services. This proves the value of Taiwan's existence, he said, adding that this is the most important force in enabling Taiwan to be looked upon as an asset to the world.
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