A total of 75 guests and medical practitioners join Hualien Tzu Chi Medical Center in the first medical forum in Tzu Chi Eye Center.
A total of 75 guests, doctors and medical practitioners from different hospitals in the country traded expertise in the field of organ transplantation and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) last April 29, 2019 at Tzu Chi Eye Center.
In line with Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy that aims to strengthen ties with countries south of its Taiwan, Hualien Tzu Chi Medical Center kick-started this series of forums in the Philippines to exchange views and knowledge on the field of medicine.
Under the “one country, one center” framework of Taiwan, six Taiwanese medical centers were tasked to work with six countries to promote improvements in the medical field. Hualien Tzu Chi Medical Center was assigned to work with the Philippines.
Deputy Superintendent of Hualien Tzu Chi Medical Center Wen Lin Hsu said that the forums aim to share experiences with their Filipino counterparts to potentially help patients who will benefit from the exchange. “[We want] to uplift the medical quality to save more patients.”
Former Health Secretary Enrique Ona said that the forum imparts a lot to the doctors in the country, especially in the field of liver transplantation that has not been well-developed in the Philippines.
“This is really a great initiative of Taiwan to offer this support both in the academic as well as scientific aspect of medicine.” he added.
Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECO) Representative Michael Hsu said that as neighbors, Taiwan and the Philippines should have a stronger bonds with activities like these.
“I believe through these kinds of exchange of opinions and especially the exchange of the best practices, it will help the doctors in the Philippines to understand what we have achieved in Taiwan.”
Doctors and medical practitioners who attended the event said that the forum helped a lot in their particular fields. Dr. Joy Mallari-De Lara who specializes in nephrology said that their learnings will help in their future plans of setting up an ECMO team in Pampanga.
“If we’re trained to set up an ECMO Center there, I think a lot of patients will benefit. They don’t have to come to Manila to have the procedure done.”
Director of Extracorporeal Life Support Center in Hualien Tzu Chi Medical Center, Jui-Chih Chang said that the most important thing in the success of ECMO is to set up an ECMO core team that will comprise of cardiologists, pulmonologists, intensive care unit doctors, and ER doctors.
Since the practice of ECMO in the country is still in its infancy, the forum provided the doctors with a venue to learn from other medical institutions’ experiences not only in Taiwan but in the Philippines as well.
“We’re able to learn from their experiences at the same time we were able to share our own experiences with them and that I think is very helpful in the growth of this specialty.” said head of NKTI-ECMO Team, Dr. Joselito Chavez.
Director of Center for Liver Disease Management and Transplantation Dr. Maria Vanessa De Villa said that it is good to learn from a country that is ahead in the field of liver transplantation especially since we are only in the early stages here in the Philippines.
“Luckily we have been doing [the procedure], we have started, but the numbers are still small because we lack organ donors, the costs is quite expensive, our organ donation program is not that well developed, and the general public lacks this kind of knowledge too.” she added.
Associate Professor from Taiwan National University Dr Ming-Chih Ho said that public awareness and acceptance of the benefits of liver transplant is crucial in attaining success in this field.
“If we can rescue a patient and give this patient a normal life, this patient can still contribute to the society. It’s very meaningful.” he said.
Pediatric Intensivist from The Medical City Dr. Florentina Uy-Ty said that the forum will help in their improvement. “The data that they presented are very relevant to our practice and definitely will help us improve.”
According to Wen Lin Hsu, more initiatives in the medical field will be launched in the country including trainings for Philippine doctors in Hualien Tzu Chi Medical Center. Another forum on advanced cell therapy was also set on August 19.