The Tzu-Chi Foundation is a worldwide, non-profit, charitable organization based in Taiwan with the purpose of serving people of all races and religions. Its Hawaii chapter was established in 1997 to provide comprehensive medical care to people in need in the state of Hawaii.

Exemplifying its mandate to reach out a helping hand to people in need, the Tzu-Chi Foundation’s Hawaii chapter, in cooperation with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Honolulu, will organize a charity mission to American Samoa this August, its second visit there since 1998, to provide free medical assistance to the Samoan people. That mission will be headquartered at the L.B.J Hospital in Pago Pago and the medical team will comprise of surgical, internal, and obstetric doctors and volunteers, as well as Director General Raymond L.S. Wang of TECO in Honolulu.

In order to raise the necessary funds to carry out that mission, the Tzu-Chi Foundation’s Hawaii chapter held its annual golf tournament at Mamala Bay Golf Course on April 17, 2003. Dr. Fong-Liang Fan, executive director of the Hawaii chapter, stated at the beginning of tournament that people in Taiwan always lend a helping hand to people in need. For example, last August, when it learned that the state of Chuuk of the Federal States of Micronesia was seriously hit by a typhoon, the foundation’s Hawaii chapter, in cooperation with the TECO in Honolulu, immediately donated tons of much needed medical supplies. This deed was highly recognized by the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and was reported on its Web site. Dr. Fan also mentioned that Taiwan has stationed numerous medical teams in developing countries and delivered over $120 million in international medical assistance to 78 countries on five continents. Citing these contributions, as well as Taiwan’s achievements in medical science, Dr. Fan expressed his belief that Taiwan should no longer be excluded from the World Health Organization.

Director General Wang echoed Dr. Fan’s statements, and noted that over the years, Taiwan has developed a great deal in its ability to combat communicable diseases. For example, Taiwan was the first country in Asia to eradicate poliomyelitis, malaria and rabies. Director General Wang added that while the deadly illness known as “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome” spreads around the world and affects thousands of people, Taiwan has enjoyed low-mortality and was praised by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for having taken important measures to control this disease. The fact that Taiwan is excluded from the WHO is not only contrary to the universality principle of the WHO, but also creates a vital gap in the global disease prevention network. Director General Wang concluded that Taiwan is capable and willing to help the international community in the fight against SARS and urged people in the state of Hawaii to voice their support for Taiwan to join the World Health Organization.

”’Timothy Lin is special assistant to Director General Raymond L.S. Wang of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu, at 2746 Pali Highway.”’

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