On the evening of September 6 local time (evening of the same day Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen visited Mbabane Government Hospital in the Kingdom of Eswatini. In remarks, President Tsai said that the renovation of Mbabane Government Hospital is the result of cooperation between Taiwan and Eswatini and a symbol of our bilateral friendship. The president expressed hope that Taiwan and Eswatini, through cooperation in public health and medical care, can enable our peoples to enjoy better health and show the world Taiwan is a trustworthy friend that strives to make the world a better place.
Upon arriving at the hospital, President Tsai was accompanied by Eswatini Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi and Senior Medical Officer Thando Tembe to view the operating theater and X-ray inspection room of the Referral and Emergency Complex and get a first-hand knowledge of the hospital facilities.
The president then received briefings from CECI Engineering Consultants Director Roger Tsai (蔡欽耀) on the hospital renovation project and Head of the Taiwan Medical Mission in Eswatini Dr. Cheng Wen-hsuan (鄭文炫) on our medical mission's service in Eswatini.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
The first time I visited Mbabane Government Hospital five years ago, this building, the Referral and the Emergency Complex, was being renovated. I am truly pleased to tour the completed building and to see the construction and medical staff from Taiwan.
Thanks to everyone's hard work, this building was completed in 2021. More than just the result of cooperation between Taiwan and Eswatini, the renovated building is a symbol of our bilateral friendship. Taiwan has provided its medical services and construction capabilities, two areas in which we excel, to this project, working together with our diplomatic ally to improve the quality of life of its people. This is an illustration of "Taiwan can help."
I want to thank CECI Engineering Consultants for making efforts to complement the existing local ecology and scenery in their design, giving the century-old hospital a whole new look. I also want to thank Taipei Medical University (TMU) Hospital and the medical mission led by Dr. Cheng for working together with our diplomatic ally to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The TMU Medical Mission has been working in Eswatini since 2009, for 14 years now, which is quite an accomplishment. Head of Mission Dr. Cheng just mentioned in his briefing that Taiwanese medical missions can be seen working in two hospitals and three regional outpatient clinics in Eswatini. Their nationwide volunteer service has also been very helpful to many people living in remote areas. In addition to clinical and critical care, the medical mission is involved in medical education, public health, and disease prevention. We hope to work with our diplomatic allies to comprehensively improve the quality of healthcare and medical facilities.
The TMU medical mission discovered that Eswatini has a shortage of medical specialists, and for this reason every year the mission dispatches doctors from different departments to treat those in need of their services. Children suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate, for example, were treated by TMU plastic surgeons and came away with new smiles.
And students from TMU since 2014 have taken advantage of their winter vacations to come to Eswatini to serve at volunteer clinics and provide health education. In addition, the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, the Amitofo Care Center, and several other Taiwanese organizations are involved in providing medical services here.
Everyone's contribution of their professional services abroad is truly remarkable, so I want to thank you all once again for your efforts. I hope that Taiwan and Eswatini, through cooperation in public health and medical care, can enable our peoples to enjoy better health and safety.
I also feel confident that the fruits of cooperation between Taiwan and Eswatini will show the world Taiwan is a trustworthy friend that strives to make the world a better place.
Minister Nkosi delivered remarks prior, welcoming President Tsai on her second visit to Eswatini and stating that the vision of the Ministry of Health is to have a healthy population. She noted that, built in 1920, the hospital has been around for more than 100 years, and that with support from Taiwan, she believes the hospital will serve the people of Eswatini for the next 100 years.
Minister Nkosi expressed her appreciation for TMU and Taiwan's International Cooperation and Development Fund, through its technical mission in Eswatini, for helping improve public health in the country. In recent years, the minister stated, the mission has assisted Eswatini in strengthening maternal and child health services, contributing to their effort to attain universal care coverage. Going forward, she noted, we will continue to collaborate on digitalizing the hospital's management information systems and responding to non-communicable diseases.
Minister Nkosi thanked Taiwan for the assistance it provided during the COVID-19 pandemic and said that Eswatini will continue to advocate for Taiwan's meaningful participation in the World Health Organization (WHO). She added that it does not make sense that Taiwan cannot participate in the WHO, as it has one of the best health systems she has seen.
Among those attending were Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花), Overseas Community Affairs Council Minister Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青), Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), Deputy Secretary-General to the President Xavier Chang (張惇涵), legislators Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉), Chiu Tai-yuan (邱泰源), Fan Yun (范雲), and Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roy Chun Lee (李淳), Ambassador to Eswatini Jeremy H.S. Liang (梁洪昇), and Eswatini Ambassador Promise Msibi.