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African nations urged to emulate Taiwan health policy

The minister made the remark in a statement titled  “Affordable Health Technology Assessment in Taiwan: A Model for Middle-Income Countries” made available to Daily Trust by the Taiwan embassy in Abuja.
He said Taiwan’s experience has shown that outstanding results can be produced on an annual budget that is significantly lower than those found in many Western countries. As such, the minister said middle-income countries seeking to build an assessment, Taiwan’s National Institute of Health Technology Assessment (NIHTA) serves as a good model.
He said Taiwan realized the goal of providing universal health care coverage by launching the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme in 1995 covering 99.9 per cent of the population.
“The initiative was ahead of its time, with the World Health Assembly (WHA)—the decision-making body of the World Health Organization—passing in 2005 a resolution which urges states to develop health financing systems as part of efforts providing universal health coverage,” he said.
Among other things, the World Health Assembly called for universal health care systems to provide equal access to health resources, affordable treatment to all and puts pressure on health care systems to control costs.
According to him, Taiwan began conducting the health technology assessments to determine the suitability of new drugs within the financial context of the NHI system since 2007. Chiu said the assessment was extended to medical devices in 2011 and to medical services this year that were used to support the reimbursement decisions.
In the paper, the minister said the analysis of the assessment which also includes studying health technology assessment agencies in Australia, Canada and the UK paid off in the second implementation stage.
He pointed out that from 2007 to 2013, working groups and other bodies helped the National Health Insurance Administration assess 204 new drugs, 38 breakthrough drugs, and eight medical devices, as well as provided 108 consultations to manufacturers.

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