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2023/4/23
Taiwan’s MacKay Medical Mission Heads Toward Ukraine as First in Asia

Taiwan Church News

3711 Edition

April 10 ~ 16, 2023

Headline News

Reported by Lin Yi-ying from Taipei
Translated by Peter Wolfe

After Formosa TV(FTV) reported on April 6th the Ukrainian media ESPRESO TV’s coverage of Taiwan’s medical aid to Ukraine, presenting a Ukrainian Congresswoman Ms Kira Rudik expressed her thanksgivings to Taiwanese people in front of a brand-new hospital bed donated by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT), next day on April 7th the PCT General Assembly Office received an incessant flow of phone calls asking how to donate for Ukraine.

Rev Lin Wei-lien, secretary of the PCT Church and Society Committee, pledges to cooperate with more international relief organizations and continue to send Taiwan’s love to Ukraine to help the vulnerable and the suffered under bombs and blasts to get through the most difficult period.

On the afternoon of the 7th, Rev Lin Wei-lien went to Taipei HQ of Mackay Memorial Hospital, and coordinated with Dr Tsai Wei-de, director of the International Medical Service Center / internal medicine director of the Department of Emergency Medicine, and Dr Hsu Wang-di, deputy director of the International Medical Service Center, to recruit members for a task force named “Ukraine-Mackay Medical Mission”.

After the MacKay Taipei HQ issued a note for voluntary participation to her branch hospitals at Tamsui, Hsinchu, Taitung, as many as 70 medical staff signed up to respond this calling. As Ukraine now is still classified as a war zone, only a limited number of medical personnel allowed, so only eight medical staffs were eligible to go.

According to the Christian Medical Association of Ukraine (CMAU), since Putin’s invasion into the Ukraine in February 2022, the MacKay Medical Mission is the first team of medical personnel from Asia to head toward Ukraine.

As the Ukrainian-Russian warfare went on, medical personnel from America and European countries continuously went to Ukraine for voluntary service, and most Asian countries donated medical or livelihood supplies, suggested in CMAU’s report, and the MacKay Medical Mission would be the first team of Asia to go to Ukraine for voluntary medical service. The news of this MacKay Medical Mission seized the media’s attentions from both Ukraine and Taiwan.

Dr Tsai Weide said that in October 2022, he received a call from Dr. Chen Heng-de from the Taiwan Christian Medical Association, asking whether the International Medical Center would cooperate with Dr Cheng Bo-ren, the executive director of the North America Branch of Chinese Christian Medical Mission (NABCCMM), to go to Ukraine for humanitarian medical assistance.

In November, when Dr Liu Jian-liang, the superintendent of the Mackay Memorial Hospital, and Rev Cheng Song-yuan, director of MMS pastoral department held a missionary meeting, it was soon decided that it would be hosted by MMH, co-organized by the Taiwan Christian Medical Association and NABCCMM, and then recruit staffs from the four branch hospitals of MMH.

“Originally I thought that not many people dare to step into a precarious war zone like Ukraine, but as many as 70 MMH medical staff signed up to respond the calling give me a big shock and surprise”, said Dr Tsai.

Dr Tsai Wei-de said that he will personally lead this Mackay Medical Mission. The members include Dr Hsu Wang-di, attending physician Dr Tsai Hsun-dian of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, attending physicians Dr Liao Chen-hao and Dr Huang Lan-chi of the Department of Emergency Medicine, attending physician Dr Yan Hsi-yu of the Department of Family Medicine, and attending physician Dr Wu Pei-shan of the Department of Emergency Medicine at MMH Taitung Branch, and Mr Wang Chuin-bo, nurse of the operating room.

Dr Cheng Bo-ren will fly to Poland from the United States to meet the team of MacKay Medical Mission. Dr Chen Heng-de and plastic surgeon Dr Chen Heng-chang will go to US together with two reporters from Sanli TV.

It is scheduled to take a flight to Warsaw, Poland on the evening of April 17, and then enter into Ukraine by car. The Ukraine-MacKay Medical Mission will conduct medical service, surgery, operation teachings and other services in Mukachevo, Ukraine and then return to Taiwan on April 29th.

Dr Tsai Wei-de and Dr Hsu Wang-di indicated that the main mission of the MacKay Medical Mission is to conduct medical clinics at mobile local stations, perform operations and demonstrations in hospitals with surgical equipment, execute medical treatment and health education teaching for medical staffs and personnel who volunteer to go to the front line, and provide post-traumatic counseling and treatment.

In the same time, local medical demands will be evaluated, and a long-term follow-up plan of medical support will also be planned. This kind of medical assistance could not be just once for all, and must be continued in order to help the truly suffered in the very wartime and post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, emphasized by both Dr Tsai and Dr Hsu

Rev Lin Wei-lien said that the PCT General Assembly took serious the Ukraine-MacKay Medical Mission and will support the mission in Ukraine. Volunteers from local Ukraine-Taiwan team will also provide oral translation and material supplies. Taiwan-Ukraine masks, Taiwan fisherman hats and other gifts produced by the PCT General Association will be carried to Ukraine along the team members, and a dignified ceremony is under plan and will be held before the official departure.

Currently, the ritual is in contact with the Presidential Palace, the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare. This Ukraine-MacKay Medical Mission would be a new milestone for Taiwan’s citizen diplomacy.

In the interview via an overseas phone call, Dr Cheng Bo-ren expressed that since the Ukrainian-Russian warfare broke out, the NABCCMM has been closely cooperating with Christian Medical Association of Ukraine (CMAU).

This time, through the arrangement of CMAU, he was able to work with MMH and Taiwan Christian Medical Association to send Taiwan’s medical expertise into Ukraine, Dr Cheng said, adding that he personally will stay in Ukraine until the beginning of May, mainly to check with this MacKay Medical Mission the itinerary, necessary equipment and supplies for their voluntary clinics in remote villages with a wish to learn more about the local medical situations.

He appreciated MMH’s International Medical Service Center for organizing the group so positively and efficiently, and hoped that this mission could truly help Ukraine for good.


Submitted by:Taiwan Church Press
 
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