Exploration of the role of WHA observership: Future strategies for the participation of Taiwan in the WHO

Ya Wen Chiu, Yu Chun Tseng, Ching Yi Huang, June Han Lee, Ming Liang Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: Taiwan was invited to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) for the first time as an observer in 2009. It is expected that the acquisition of observer status will pave the way for the country's further participation in World Health Organization (WHO) activities; however, whether we can participate in activities such as networks, meetings or projects, remains to be seen. The aim of this study was to analyze the past experiences of other WHA observers, and to learn how they interacted with the WHO. Methods: From the WHO website and other available information sources, we reviewed the official records of 5 other WHA observers. Content analysis was applied to summarize the interaction patterns among observers and WHO. Results: There were no significant regulations for observers' participation. Each observer developed a distinctive interaction model according to its nature, demands and ability. We determined 5 categories of major activities among them: participating in WHA, attending or hosting WHO meetings, joining WHO-related networks, gaining health assistance from WHO, and making contributions to the global public health field. Conclusions: Observer status did not limit cooperation with WHO, and, except for attending the WHA, their interactions varied. No regulation defines the scope of participation, so Taiwan can be more flexible. We can create a unique interactive model according to our own country's specialties, capabilities and needs, and thus contribute to international society through the WHO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-464
Number of pages13
JournalTaiwan Journal of Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • International health cooperation
  • Observer
  • Participation strategy
  • WHA
  • WHO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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