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Posts tagged ‘Taiwan’

Taiwan hospital fire kills 12 elderly residents

Many of the people in the hospital are elderly and bed-ridden

An early morning fire at a hospital in southern Taiwan has killed 12 patients and injured at least 60 more.

The fire swept through a nursing home inside the hospital in Tainan City that housed elderly and mostly bed-ridden patients.

A hospital official said the victims died of smoke inhalation. Injured residents were being treated at several different hospitals.

Police say they have arrested a man on suspicion of starting the fire.

Local reports say the man is a patient at the nursing home.

Remote locationThe nursing home housed more than 100 people, many of whom were on respirators and unable to move on their own.

“It was pitch black and the heavy smoke was unbearable, it’s really horrifying,” a person who escaped the fire told Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

One 94-year-old woman had to use her wheelchair to escape the blaze, hiding on the second floor until rescuers found her, local media reported.

Thirty fire engines were sent to the blaze, which was extinguished by 04:16 local time (20:16 GMT), just over 45 minutes after it was reported, officials said.

Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te said the hospital’s remote location and the fact that most of the patients were unable to move on their own made the situation worse.

Firefighters arrived at the scene 10 minutes after the fire broke out, but because of the large number of patients nearby residents had to pitch in to help transport some of them to other hospitals, says the BBC’s Cindy Sui in Taipei.

The fire is believed to be one of deadliest at a Taiwanese hospital and one of the most serious on the island in recent years, says our correspondent.

Premier Sean Chen said in a statement that he had sent condolences to the victims’ families.


Free treatment in Taipei for poor heart patients

PUTRAJAYA: Poor people suffering from acute heart disease can apply for medical treatment from the Taipei Medical University Hospital (TMUH) in Taiwan.

A collaboration between Social Care Foundation Malaysia (SCFM) and the hospital allows heart patients, who are on a long waiting list for the operation, to seek treatment with referral letters from their attending doctors.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the foundation and the Taiwanese university hospital yesterday, said it was an important milestone for the country.

“The government is happy that Taipei Medical University Hospital is offering its services free of charge to our patients,” he said at a press conference.

“This move will help us reduce the number of heart patients sent abroad for surgery because our government has been doing so in the past to reduce congestion and waiting time in hospitals.”

He said most paediatric heart patients were referred to the Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital in India and it cost about RM10,000 per patient.

However, the government is reducing the number of heart patients sent to India as the facilities in Malaysia have been increased.

Liow said the number of paediatric heart patients in the country was relatively high with 1,000 to 1,500 patients per year and the National Heart Institute (IJN) could only handle 1,000 cases.

“IJN is going to expand its paediatric heart centre to a six-floor building and the ministry is still waiting for the full proposal and details.

“The ministry is also trying to expand the paediatric heart centre in Serdang Hospital by the end of the year.”

There are 10 heart centres in the country.

Social Care Foundation Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Robert Phang said the Taipei hospital would provide free treatment for 10 Malaysian heart patients a year over a three-year period.

“The annual cost of RM1 million or RM100,000 each for patients undergoing surgery will be borne by the hospital, aside from arranging accommodation for accompanying relatives.”

Phang added that the foundation would also pay the return airfare from Taipei and meal expenses for two accompanying immediate family members of each heart patient.

Read more: NST

Taiwan health test on students ‘standard procedure’

KUALA LUMPUR: Health screening tests conducted on Malaysian students in Taiwan are standard health and epidemic prevention procedures by the Taiwan government.

According to a statement by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Taiwanese embassy), the health screenings, which include tests for syphilis, tuberculosis and AIDS, were for all foreigners and expatriates who intended to live in the country for a long period of time.

Chief information officer for the Taiwanese embassy Yue Ming Feng said the procedures were also regulated in other countries.

“The procedure was not intended to discriminate Malaysian students in Taiwan. It is a standard procedure that all foreigners, who intend to stay for the long term, have to go through.

“The procedure has been practised by the republic’s Department of Health and Disease Control for many years.”

Yu was responding to an article by a Chinese daily yesterday that questioned the practice to screen Malaysian students for syphilis.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and Abu Dhabi are known to have health screening tests for foreigners intending to work or study in the country.

There are 56,000 foreign students in Taiwan and the majority of them are from Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Based on a report by the Republic of China’s Education Ministry, 45 per cent of the total number of foreign students in Taiwan’s universities were undergoing degree programmes.

Read more: NST

Changhua sterilizes farm infected with H5N2 avian flu


Taipei, March 4 (CNA) Animal health and quarantine officials sterilized a chicken farm in central Taiwan on Sunday after an outbreak of the H5N2 strain of avian influenza occurred there in December.

The Changhua Animal Disease Control Center disinfected the egg farm, where over 54,000 birds have been culled over the past three days, to prevent the highly virulent bird flu from spreading.

The farm was the only one in the county to have had a confirmed outbreak, officials from the center said, adding that test results for another Changhua farm were still pending.

Despite the highly pathogenic H5N2 virus being detected, the death rate of hens at the farm was around 0.035 percent daily for three consecutive days, lower than 0.05 percent at other chicken farms, the center’s staff stated.

Some 16 million egg-laying chickens are raised in Changhua, and the incident has not had much impact on the industry, the center noted.

For an outbreak of the highly pathogenic bird flu to be confirmed, a farm’s daily death rates of animals should be higher than the normal range between 0.05 and 0.075 percent for three consecutive days, according to the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the Council of Agriculture.

The bureau reiterated on Sunday that the subtype H5N2 is a disease among animals and cannot be transmitted to humans. It urged the public to not be worried about the outbreak if they purchase certified poultry or meat with a Certified Agricultural Standards label.

In response to accusations that the bureau had covered up the highly contagious outbreak, the bureau said the Changhua administration began an investigation as soon as the abnormal number of of bird deaths was reported on Dec. 27, 2011.

From Dec. 31, when it imposed restrictions on transportation of the infected birds, to the day it completed its cull, the birds did not show any apparent symptoms of infection and death rates were below normal levels.

December’s Changhua outbreak was different from other documented highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks, the bureau added.

Two meetings have so far been held to discuss the case, in which the virus appeared to be a low pathnogenic in certain tests but highly pathogenic after DNA tests, the bureau noted.

Hsu Tien-lai, director of the bureau, resigned after the confirmed outbreak in Changhua and one in the southern city of Tainan, which resulted in the culling of 57,500 birds on Saturday.

(By Wu Jhe-hao, Lin Hui-chun and Kendra Lin)

Read More: Focus Taiwan

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