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  • 05/28

    2018

    Taiwan ranks 19th globally in ...

    Focus Taiwan 2018/05/27 19:09:26 Taipei, May 27 (CNA) Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP) ranks 19th in the world, higher than Japan and South Korea's, according to recent data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the IMF's data, Taiwan's purchasing power parity-based GDP is US$52,304, higher than the US$44,430 in Japan and US$41,390 in South Korean, which rank 31st and 32nd in the world, respectively. Twice a year, the IMF releases a huge dump of data about the economic power of the world's nations, with GDP per capita a key statistic. The IMF also ranks the world's countries according to their GDP per capita based on PPP. PPP compares living standards among the different nations, taking into account their relative cost of living and the inflation rates. Taiwan's Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said recently that the country's relative low living cost, stable price levels, and low inflation rate were the main reasons why it was so high on the PPP index. Meanwhile, the IMF data, which was published in April, showed Qatar in the No. 1 spot in the world in terms of GDP per capita based on PPP, with US$128,702 per annum, followed by Macau with US$122,489, and Luxembourg with US$110,870. In Asia, Singapore ranks fourth with US$98,014, and Hong Kong 10th with US$64,533, the data shows. According to Business Insider, small countries are dominating the list because they have small populations compared to countries such as the United States, China and Germany that lead the world purely in terms of GDP. Most of the small nations depend heavily on migrant workers, who often do not reside in the country where they are working or are not granted resident status and therefore are not included in the GDP per capita calculations, Business Insider said. (By Joseph Yeh) Enditem/pc
  • 05/22

    2018

    Taiwan can help meet health-fo...

    Posted on 16 May 2018 Chen Shih-Chung THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged member states to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. Although not a WHO member, Taiwan has offered universal health coverage to its 23 million citizens since 1995. Taiwan launched its National Health Insurance (NHI) initiative by integrating medical programmes for labourers, farmers, and government employees, which covered only half the population. This was expanded to provide equal coverage to all citizens from birth. All foreigners who legally work or reside in Taiwan are also covered. The NHI is a public programme run by the government based on a single-payer model. Life expectancy in Taiwan has increased to levels seen in key OECD countries, with women living on average to 83.4 years old, and men to 76.8. Yet healthcare costs are far lower in Taiwan than in most highly developed countries in Europe and North America, at US$1,430 per capita per year, representing just 6.3% of GDP in 2016. Administrative costs run at less than 1% of the total and public satisfaction remains high, at 85.8% in 2017. Taiwan's health system has undergone reforms to ensure its sustainability. Implementing the Global Budget Payment on top of Fee-For-Service reimbursement method effectively reduced annual medical expenditure growth from 12% to 5% since 2003. And the way premiums are collected has also changed from being purely payroll-based, to including supplementary premiums based on capital gains, which has created a surplus for the National Health Insurance Fund. The NHI's information system has migrated to the cloud, making it easier for hospitals, clinics, and doctors to access medical information. We encourage hospitals to upload computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans so they can be retrieved for consultations. A personalised cloud-based service, My Health Bank, enables patients to check their records. The government has adopted a wide range of measures to reduce health inequalities affecting disadvantaged groups. We have premium subsidies for low-income and near-poor households, as well as the unemployed. We have also improved the provision of services in areas with limited healthcare resources, and implemented an Integrated Delivery System (IDS) in remote areas. We also raised subsidies on preventive healthcare services for indigenous populations. It is impossible for countries to overcome healthcare challenges on their own. It is only through interdisciplinary and international cooperation that we can build a global health system that consistently and cost-effectively meets the healthcare needs of people worldwide and bring to fruition the WHO's ultimate goal of health for all. Taiwan has a great deal of experience in building and maintaining a universal health insurance system. We believe that Taiwan's healthcare system can serve as a model for other countries. It has a constructive role to play in creating a robust global health network, and the best way is through taking part in the World Health Assembly (WHA) and WHO. It is regrettable that political obstruction led to Taiwan being denied an invitation to the 70th WHA as an observer last year. The WHO not only failed to abide by its constitution, but also ignored widespread calls for Taiwan's inclusion. Yet, Taiwan remains committed to helping enhance regional and global disease prevention networks, and assisting other countries in overcoming their healthcare challenges. Taiwan seeks to take part in the 71st WHA this year as an observer. Dr Chen Shih-Chung is Taiwan's minister of health and welfare.
  • 05/22

    2018

    Taiwan is happiest nation in E...

    New Delhi | Thu, March 15, 2018 Lamat R. Hasan Asia News Network Finland has emerged as the happiest nation in the world in the sixth World Happiness Report. Norway, which topped the list last year, finished second in the 2018 report, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland. The report, prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations, ranks countries on six key variables - income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. The 2018 report focusses on migration within and between countries and was released on March 14, a week ahead of the World Happiness Day. It surveyed 156 countries for their happiness levels, and 117 countries to determine the happiness of immigrants. In Asia, Israel finished first occupying the 11th spot, while United Arab Emirates came second at rank 20, followed by Qatar ( 32 ) and Saudi Arabia ( 33 ). In East Asia, Taiwan was found to be the happiest nation at rank 26, followed by Singapore ( 34 ). Malaysia ( 35 ), Thailand ( 46 ), Japan ( 54 ) and South Korea ( 57 ). Philippines finished at 71 and Pakistan at 76. China is lagging behind its Asian neighbours at 86 in the happiness quotient, while its economic competitor, India is seemingly even more unhappy at rank 133. Among other Asian nations, Mongolia was ranked at 94, Vietnam at 95, Indonesia, 96, Bhutan – which was once the happiest - at 97, Nepal at 101, Laos, 110, Bangladesh, 115, Sri Lanka, 116, Cambodia, 120 and Myanmar, 130. The 10 happiest countries also occupied similar spots on being ranked on immigrant happiness. The survey found that those who move to happier countries gained, while those who moved to less happy countries lose. The United States' ranking dropped four spots this year. It finished at the 18th slot. “US policymakers should take note. The US happiness ranking is falling, in part because of the ongoing epidemics of obesity, substance abuse and untreated depression," the report stated.
  • 05/15

    2018

    Yuanlin Christian Hospital in ...

    14 May 2018 at 04:30 NEWSPAPER SECTION: ASIA FOCUS | WRITER: TANYATORN TONGWARANAN Dr Nina Kao demonstrates the infotainment offerings available in a room at Yuanlin Christian Hospital, part of the Changhua Christian Hospital (CCH) group in Taiwan. Smart healthcare requires a lot of factors to come together to deliver the best results to patients. For hospital operators, that includes smart building design where infrastructure and medical devices are interconnected with real-time data collection, cloud computing and big-data analysis. This dream of building a smart hospital has become a reality in Changhua, Taiwan's smallest and most populous county, a three-hour drive from Taipei with a population of 1.3 million. Because emergency care and medical resources in the area were scarce, Dr Kwo-Whei Lee decided to establish Yuanlin Christian Hospital (YCH) as the 11th branch of Changhua Christian Hospital (CCH) with the primary focus on comprehensive medical care through innovative and advanced technology. "The healthcare industry is a free market and we continuously need to compete with each other. We need to be efficient so that we can survive and make revenue. Different hospitals need to develop their own strategies," Dr Lee told Asia Focus recently during the Smart City Brands media tour hosted by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council. "Proper building design and spatial planning have proved to contribute to patients' healing journey, lower infection rates and reduce the length of hospital stays, while being able to generate higher efficiency in medical procedures and reduce energy consumption," he said. Images from a scan of a patient’s eye can be relayed to remote locations via the MiiS telemedicine application. For more than 120 years, CCH has been the prime health provider to people in central Taiwan with 11 hospital branches and 3,700 beds in Taichung, Changhua, Nantou and Yunlin counties. The group employs 8,000 staff. Over the past 15 years at CCH, Dr Lee has carefully observed the strengths and weaknesses in the medical system. The limitations he saw led him to believe there was a better way forward. With this in mind, he established YCH in 2015 as a small but highly sophisticated hospital with a full array of smart features and interconnected infrastructure to increase efficiency of medical operations, reduce energy consumption and enhance patients' experience. "We conceptualised the idea here as I wanted to overcome the issues at our current hospitals. I know the problems very well and know exactly where to change and what to improve," he said. Through smart spatial planning and data management, the hospital is able to increase efficiency and reduce costs and waiting times for patients, keeping them satisfied. "The idea is to develop a smart, resource-efficient and environmentally friendly hospital with comprehensive medical care and patientcentric services," Dr Lee said. “Proper building design and spatial planning has proven to contribute to patients’ healing journey, lower infection rates and reduce the length of hospital stays” — DR KWO-WHEI LEE, CEO, Yuanlin Christian Hospital "Patients want personalised medical information and precise diagnosis and demand prompt and 24/7 services. From the perspective of a healthcare service provider, we must provide according to what they need." Currently, YCH has 400 beds and full-scale medical facilities including major surgery, all-dimensional examination, obstetrics and gynaecology, major trauma, cardiovascular, paediatric emergency, 29 medical specialties and an air ambulance helipad. Because Taiwan has a vibrant information communication and technology industry, hospital managers can also collaborate with local technology companies without having to venture overseas. GREEN & PATIENT-CENTRIC The focus on patients begins with providing them with digital tools to input information about themselves to the hospital information system (HIS) without the need for human intervention, reducing the hassle of long waits and queues. A patient only needs his or her national health insurance card to initiate a primary check-up at a self-service kiosk, which measures vital signs and automatically prepares and labels test-tubes for further tests. "This shortens patients' waiting time and allows zero human errors," Dr Lee said. "With 2,500 to 3,000 outpatients per day, there has to be a system that engages the patients with medical service that is quick and precise." The inpatient experience is also a pleasant one. A touch-screen bedside infotainment system provides hospital information, diagnosis results and treatment options as well as entertainment options, so patients can learn about their conditions while being entertained. The hospital also places a significant emphasis on infection control through spatial design and technology. The intensive care unit (ICU), for instance, is designed with an overhanging cantilevered system in which none of the medical equipment touches the floor. Rooms are also curtain-free with electrically operated switchable glass compartments, reducing the risk of bacteria growing on the curtain. "We place the highest standard on infection control and we aim to minimise any possible risks of bacterial growth and viruses," said Dr Lee. The routes used to transport contaminated objects and sterile objects are also clearly separated, which eliminates any possibility of contaminating surgical tools. In the dentistry clinic, for instance, an overhead automated light-rail transport system transfers contaminated dental instruments to the cleaning and sterilising room. In the operating room there is Orber, a medical transport robot that can carry up to 150 kilogrammes of contaminated surgical materials to the cleaning room. "This can reduce the chances of work injury during the process of transport, and can avoid the risk of cross-infection when the transport is carried out by the staff," he said. The hospital also offers a long-distance consultation system through a robot. For example, it can evaluate whether a patient with acute stroke needs to be injected with rt-PA, a protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots. Another feature that sets YCH apart from many smart hospital designs is its energy management system (EMS). Real-time detection of outdoor environmental conditions helps determine appropriate indoor lighting, air-conditioning and energy requirements within each room. "We purposely designed the green building and smart energy control system to reduce energy consumption," Dr Lee said, adding that the visualisation dashboard and a control system can automatically adjust the output of the facilities to meet only the actual energy required. "Air-conditioning for operating rooms that are not being used, for instance, will not be turned on." In addition, the building is built with sun-blocking, and low-carbon construction materials with a heat recovery pump system, solar water-heating system, ice-storage air-conditioning system and rainwater recycling system to further reduce energy use. ATTRACTIVE INVESTMENT According to Dr Lee, the initial capital investment for the hospital was NT$4 billion (US$134 million) which is five or six times higher than for a traditional hospital of a similar size. This reflected the high commitment to research and development (R&D) and technology. "However, the turnover is much quicker than for a traditional hospital with revenue growing about 8-10 times faster compared to a traditional hospital," he said. He sees Southeast Asia as a great place to apply a similar model, giving its thriving economies, rising demand for healthcare and the low number of physicians. Making the hospital system more efficient has become crucial. There has been some interest among hospitals in the region, he said. "Hospital operators from Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar are interested in our smart hospital system, and want to collaborate with us. "This will be good for them as they will not have to spend a lot of time and resources to go through trial and error building up a smart system. They can jump right away to the same level as ours." Dr Lee's plan for YCH over the next few years is to continue to deepen the technology and ICT system and ensure the highest information security for the patients. "We don't focus solely on the expansion of hospital size or number of beds," he said. That's good news for businesses that supply smart hospitals too. "Implementing digital platforms in hospital systems will help drive 20% growth in the medical computing market," said Vivi Yen, business development manager at Advantech Co Ltd, one of the key technology suppliers for YCH. "Digitisation will increase the efficiency of overall hospital operations and reduce manual tasks for physicians and nurses." Ms Yen said Advantech was currently working on similar installations in Southeast Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The top challenges for emerging markets, she pointed out, include infrastructure, transmission capability, software and system integration. The key is to collaborate with the right local partners and understand their requirements, as priorities and levels of technological advancement in each country are different, she added.
  • 03/03

    2018
  • 02/22

    2018
  • 02/02

    2017

    Rough Guides' annual list of t...

    Taiwan is only just beginning to garner the attention it has always deserved. Cosmopolitan Taipei was named World Design Capital last year, highlighting its pioneering creative scene, new wave cafés and all-round sophisticated city life, while the country’s cuisine and night markets remain world renowned. China’s influence is obvious, of course, and the cultural remnants of the island’s past occupation by both Japanese and American forces are still discernible. But as the only democracy in the Chinese-speaking world, Taiwan has a unique geography, mentality and identity. The Rough Guide to Taiwan BUY THE GUIDE High-speed trains will whizz you out of cities to steamy forests and jagged mountains. Non-stop nightlife is never far from bubbling hot springs and sunny sub-tropical shores. Cutting-edge modern architecture sits side-by-side with ancient temples. Many travellers are only just waking up to all this island has to offer: get here before everyone else does. Source:https://www.roughguides.com/best-places/2017/top-10-countries/
  • 02/02

    2017

    The Best & Worst Places for Ex...

    The newcomer Taiwan is this year’s winner, followed by an aspiring Malta, while Ecuador only just retains its place on the podium. Kuwait, Greece, and Nigeria remain at the bottom of the pack. Taiwan named best expat destination in the world Malta pushes Mexico off the podium Taiwan and Malta perform well in all areas of expat life Ecuador loses ground in terms of Working Abroad and Quality of Life Kuwait, Greece, and Nigeria remain last on the list Taiwan: Out with the Old, in with the New The newcomer Taiwan has ousted two-time champion Ecuador to win this year’s survey. In addition to claiming 1st place out of 67 countries in the overall ranking, it is in the top ten for every individual index! Taiwan holds first place in the Quality of Life and Personal Finance Indices, impressing with the quality and affordability of its healthcare and the enviable financial situation of expats living there. The Asian Tiger scores second place in the Working Abroad Index. Over one-third of expats in Taiwan (34%) are completely satisfied with their jobs, more than double the global average of 16%. Expats are similarly enthusiastic about their work-life balance (30%) and job security (34%). This small island country also holds second place for overall satisfaction with life abroad, with 93% voicing their general contentment. Only Spain has higher ratings here. It comes as no surprise then, that a majority of expats in Taiwan (64%) plan to stay there longer than three years; with more than half of these (36% in total) even considering staying there forever. Taiwan performs worst in the Ease of Settling In Index, although it still comes in a respectable tenth. Here, its first place in the Friendliness subcategory is evened out by much lower results in the Language subcategory, where it only comes in 45th. Nine in ten expats give the friendliness of local residents towards foreigners a positive rating, compared to only 65% worldwide. However, the language barrier does pose some problems. Only 23% overall agree that learning the local language is easy (global 37%) and about one-third (32%) are of the opinion that living in Taiwan without learning at least some of the local tongue is problematic. It seems that many expats anticipated this challenge, with 35% naming the language barrier as a possible disadvantage they thought about before the move. Taiwan is the only country in the top three with enough expats living abroad with their dependent children for it to feature in the Family Life Index, coming in 8th out of 45 countries. In fact, 43% of the respondents there have dependent children living with them, over twice the global average of 21%. It does best in terms of the friendly attitude towards families with children, with 58% rating this as very good (39% worldwide). However, for both childcare and education, only 3% of expat parents completely agree that these are easy to afford. Source:www.internations.org
  • 10/26

    2016

    Top Hospitals in the World

    In health care, like in many things, quality is important. Whether it’s the education of the physicians, the competency of the specialists, or the compassion of the nurses, every detail can make the difference in patient outcomes. While the work of all health care workers is greatly appreciated, there are some facilities which on the whole, can be rated above others in terms of being of the finest caliber. Here, we take a look at the top 15 hospitals in the world, taking into account specialization quality, patient outcomes, research, and care philosophy. 15. Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan TaipeiStarting off our list of the top hospitals in the world is the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, located in Taipei City. Founded in 1958 and funded as well as run by the Veteran’s Administration of Taipei, this 3,000 bed facility as well as two sister facilities are used as teaching hospitals and provide state of the art health care to their patients. With consistently high care quality and a remarkably good prognostic track record, this hospital can also claim the first use of the Gamma Knife treatment and first Neurological department within the country, as well as their infectious disease department being the first to isolate the HIV/AIDS virus in Asia.
  • 08/31

    2016

    The Best & Worst Places for Ex...

    Taiwan: Out with the Old, in with the New The newcomer Taiwan has ousted two-time champion Ecuador to win this year’s survey. In addition to claiming 1st place out of 67 countries in the overall ranking, it is in the top ten for every individual index! Taiwan holds first place in the Quality of Life and Personal Finance Indices, impressing with the quality and affordability of its healthcare and the enviable financial situation of expats living there. The Asian Tiger scores second place in the Working Abroad Index. Over one-third of expats in Taiwan (34%) are completely satisfied with their jobs, more than double the global average of 16%. Expats are similarly enthusiastic about their work-life balance (30%) and job security (34%). This small island country also holds second place for overall satisfaction with life abroad, with 93% voicing their general contentment. Only Spain has higher ratings here. It comes as no surprise then, that a majority of expats in Taiwan (64%) plan to stay there longer than three years; with more than half of these (36% in total) even considering staying there forever. Taiwan performs worst in the Ease of Settling In Index, although it still comes in a respectable tenth. Here, its first place in the Friendliness subcategory is evened out by much lower results in the Language subcategory, where it only comes in 45th. Nine in ten expats give the friendliness of local residents towards foreigners a positive rating, compared to only 65% worldwide. However, the language barrier does pose some problems. Only 23% overall agree that learning the local language is easy (global 37%) and about one-third (32%) are of the opinion that living in Taiwan without learning at least some of the local tongue is problematic. It seems that many expats anticipated this challenge, with 35% naming the language barrier as a possible disadvantage they thought about before the move. Taiwan is the only country in the top three with enough expats living abroad with their dependent children for it to feature in the Family Life Index, coming in 8th out of 45 countries. In fact, 43% of the respondents there have dependent children living with them, over twice the global average of 21%. It does best in terms of the friendly attitude towards families with children, with 58% rating this as very good (39% worldwide). However, for both childcare and education, only 3% of expat parents completely agree that these are easy to afford. Malta: Fun in the Sun Malta, a newcomer in last year’s survey, has moved up one spot to claim second place, thus pushing Mexico, last year’s second-place winner, off the podium completely, but only down to fourth place. Similar to Taiwan, Malta is also in the top ten for every index that factors into the overall ranking. This Mediterranean country performs best in the Ease of Settling In Index, coming in fourth place. It is first in terms of settling down, getting used to the local culture, and making new friends. Over four in ten expats (41%) say it is very easy to settle down in Malta, well over twice the global average of 16%. Malta fell from first place to fifth this year in the Working Abroad Index. It seems that expats working there are not as pleased with their work-life balance as they were in 2015, with only 22% completely satisfied (vs. 27% in 2015), which is still slightly above the global average of 17%. This is despite, or perhaps due to, the fact that 28% are part-time workers. In the Personal Finance Index, Malta has made a quite significant jump, from 42nd to 6th place. One-quarter of respondents even quote complete satisfaction with their financial situation (global 15%). This is despite the fact that one-third of working expats say their income is generally lower than back home. Malta holds sixth place in the Quality of Life Index, with exceptional ratings for the climate and weather. Three-quarters of expats say they couldn’t be more pleased with it, and not a single respondent has something negative to say! With such glowing results, it’s perhaps no surprise that almost half the expats in Malta are planning to stay forever (49%), significantly higher than the global average of 31%. Ecuador: Struggling Economy, Sinking Ratings After two years at first place, Ecuador has lost its crown. Nevertheless, it has still retained a spot on the podium with its third place in 2016. It saw losses in each index, some more striking than others. Ecuador lost the most ground in the Working Abroad Index. In 2014 it ranked 5th out of 61 and in 2015 it held 7th out of 64, but this year it comes in at a very mediocre 30th out of 67 countries. This is mostly due to its dismal finish in the Job Security subcategory, where it comes in 50th place (it was 22nd in 2015). Overall, only half of expats in Ecuador are satisfied with their level of job security, just under the global average of 56%. Even worse, only 6%, about one-third of the global average of 17%, believe the state of Ecuador’s economy to be very good. As oil is Ecuador’s key export, its low price has had adverse effects on the economy. While occurring after the survey was conducted, the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck in April 2016 has not helped matters since. In the Personal Finance Index, Ecuador saw a slight drop from first place in 2014 and 2015 to third place in 2016. Despite the dreary state of the economy, 27% of expats there are very happy with their financial situation, almost double the global average of 15%. This may be because 41% of survey respondents in Ecuador are retirees and may not be relying on Ecuador’s economy for their income. This assumption is bolstered by the fact that only 13% of retirees were living in Ecuador prior to their retirement. The Quality of Life Index is another area where Ecuador lost ground this year, with a drop to 18th place from 2nd. Only 22% of this year’s respondents feel very safe in Ecuador (38% worldwide) and an average percentage (69% vs. 63% globally) are satisfied with the transport infrastructure. The country continues to rank well for the quality (30%) and affordability of healthcare (31%), however, with around three in ten considering both factors excellent against global rates of 23% and 21%. Ecuador’s eighth place in the Ease of Settling In Index helps its overall ranking, as does its third place for how satisfied expats are with life abroad in general there. One-quarter couldn’t be happier, compared to only 15% globally who feel the same about life in their host country. The Bottom Three: No Surprises Here The three countries at the end of the list in 2016 have remained stable: Kuwait, Greece, and Nigeria. Kuwait has remained steadily at the bottom for three years running. It even managed to go down in each index this year, most notably in the Working Abroad and Personal Finance Indices. Greece also came in second to last in 2015 while in 2014 it held the third to last spot. It did better in the Ease of Settling In Index this year (up to 27th from 41st) but worse in all the other indices that factor into the overall ranking. It’s now last place for the Working Abroad and Personal Finance Indices and ranks a dismal 43rd out of 45 countries in the Family Life Index. Nigeria also came in third to last in 2015, and in 2014 it was fifth to last. This year it holds last place for the Quality of Life and the Cost of Living Indices. Compared to 2015, it does slightly better in the Ease of Settling In Index this year (from 42nd to 39th place), but much worse in the Personal Finance Index (from 10th to 32nd).
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