Caption: Shuang Ho medical team conducted surgery in the Marshall Islands
In June 2018, Shuang Ho Hospital’s Marshall Islands medical team received the 3rd International Medical Model Award.
Since its establishment in 2008, Shuang Ho Hospital has supported Taiwan’s foreign policies by working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), and the International Cooperation and Development Fund to carry out health exchanges and collaborations. The hospital has supported TMU’s outreach activities by organizing teams to deliver services in northern Thailand, Haiti, India, Mongolia, Eswatini, Sao Tome and Principe, and other locations.
Superintendent Mai-Szu Wu noted that more than two thousand patients have benefited from the Taiwan Health Center in the Marshall Islands. MOHW has directed the hospital to manage this center since 2013, and it has helped to establish a comprehensive medical system providing resident medical services and diabetes services. It also has implemented nutrition education, digitized patient histories and screened children for parasites.
Coral-based soils mean fruits and vegetables are difficult to cultivate in the Marshall Islands. As most islanders live on meats and starches, many suffer long-term nutritional imbalances and chronic diseases, particularly the top three killers: diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Diabetes is particularly prevalent, with one study finding 67% of adults ages 40-64 are diabetic.
Dr. Lien-Guo Dai, an orthopedist who worked in the Marshall Islands, said patients there often delay seeking treatment until their conditions become serious. His response was to see more patients per day during his visit. Urologist Dr. Wei-Tang Kao also served as a medical resident at the center, and said the prevalence of obesity leads to diabetes. As this affects kidney, bladder and nervous system functions, he said patients often suffered hematuria and frequent or incomplete urination, leading to urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
To improve islanders’ health, Shuang Ho Hospital created a nutrition education booklet the Marshall Islands government has encouraged local elementary schools to use. The hospital arranged for nursing staff to carry out diabetes screenings and consultations as well as training nursery school teachers about health. Shuang Ho sends 11 specialists to the Marshall Islands every year to serve for at least 1 month, so throughout the year Taiwanese physicians assist Majuro Hospital in providing services.
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