|發表於: 星期日 十一月 30, 2008 8:44 pm 文章主題: Alternative Diplomacy, International Heath Clinic
|By:by Jung T. Tsai, MD, President of NATMA
The Webster dictionary defines the term “alternative” as offering or expressing a choice, and different from the usual or conventional. In medicine, there are often alternative options when the obvious approach does not or cannot work. For example, if operating on the normal pathway presents a considerable risk to the patient, doctors and medical professionals weigh the benefits of road detour and arterial bypass surgeries as alternative solutions. While Alternative Medicine and Alternative Therapy are often implemented and put into practice in the medical community, Alternative Diplomacy is a concept foreign to most. We at NATMA (Northern America Taiwanese Medical Association) have been exercising Alternative Diplomacy for years now. International health missions are NATMA’s approach to the goal of establishing Taiwan as a political force with a strong and positive presence in the international community.
In 2002, NATMA, a 1,400+ member group of various health related professionals, initiated its 1st Annual International Health Clinic. Years after years as a group of health care providers we visits and provides free care to many nations of Central America . NATMA as an organization is based on the fundamental principle that the act of giving back to society, with kindness and compassion, is the fundamental human truth. The American College of Surgery has similarly launched the programs “Operation Giving Back” and for many years “Doctors without Borders” as a group has effectively improved the standard of health care and living in many third world countries. These programs have made an immediate impact in changing the world for the better, one patient at a time.
For the past 6 years, we as an organization have begun to realize not only how much of a positive impact we can have on the world, but also the great deal of satisfaction we experience ourselves by giving back to society. There are numerous stories of patients who reach out to NATMA in appreciation of our efforts. A mother of a child with massive hydrocele told me that her child is now able to swim in a pool with friends for the first time. A battered wife with multiple fractures no longer feels helpless and is now able to stand up for herself and start a new life. A portable machine we recently brought to 3rd world countries to fix long overdue, negligent dental problems was years ahead of any medical technology they had ever encountered.
Addressing the infected skin, diarrhea, and malnutrition of adults and children with large supplies of antibiotics, vitamins, and medications allow these people to go back to their everyday lives. We are improving their overall quality of life. The in-person, intimate contact these people receive from caring Taiwanese-American physicians, without a doubt strengthens the bond of friendship and humanity in their respective communities. This, in turn, serves to ultimately improve the image of Taiwan and its relationship with rest of the world.
Since the early 1970s, Taiwan has been isolated from the rest of the world because China falsely claims that Taiwan is a renegade province. China threatens to take over Taiwan by force, if necessary. Fear of standing up to this 800-pound Gorilla causes the world to look the other way to this injustice. Taiwan, as a people, needs to continue to empower itself to educate the rest of the world. As Taiwanese-Americans, we need to do everything in our power to preserve the freedom of a democratic Taiwan.
Winston Churchill was once quoted as saying, ”You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.“ Through international health missions, our form of Alternative Diplomacy, NATMA can now stand up to China and stand for something bigger. Let’s make NATMA, as a whole, stand for something greater than the sum of its parts. Let’s start, one patient at a time.