Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih in an Aug. 31 news conference outlined his healthcare policies to tackle current challenges, including rising infant mortality rate, which has recently hit its highest in seven years; rising prevalence of depression, which has reached 8.9 percent; rising shortage of nursing staff, with the shortfall reaching 24,000 workers; rising occurrence of lung cancer as a result of air pollution; growing public scrutiny over the government’s vaccine procurement, with 70 percent of the public saying they have doubts; and a declining average life expectancy.
To address the above mentioned challenges, the KMT candidate outlined the following measures:
1. Increase investments into healthcare: over the next four years, raise healthcare spending to at least 8 percent of the GDP, as well as establishing a cancer drugs fund (CDF) to enhance patient access to new drugs, expand spending on vaccination programs.
2. Establish a cross-ministerial committee tasked with expanding financial aid to pediatric vaccination programs, maternal and child care.
3. Enhance preventative care against high-risk cancers, as well as promoting a national-level program for the prevention and management of chronic diseases.
4. Elevate the improvement of mental health services to a Cabinet-level initiative.
5. Prioritize advancing transparency in the government’s vaccine procurement.
Hou Ming-feng, an older brother of Hou Yu-ih who is a breast cancer physician, has also called for the establishment of a cancer drugs fund.
[2023-8-31/United Daily News]