TAIPEI, Taiwan - A renowned Taiwanese doctor and pioneer in liver transplant surgery yesterday was awarded the Friend of Foreign Service Medal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to honour his contribution to the nation's diplomacy in the medical field.
Chen Chao-long, the superintendent of Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital was awarded the medal by Foreign Minister David Lin during a ceremony at MOFA's headquarters in Taipei.
During his address, Lin said the ministry was honoured to present the medal to Chen in appreciation and recognition of his contribution to the R.O.C.'s diplomacy in medicine.
A pioneer in liver transplants, Chen performed the first successful liver transplant surgery in Asia in 1984.
He completed his 1,000th transplant in 2012 and his contributions have won him high acclaim in the international medical community, Lin said.
Over his decades-long career, Chen has engaged in international medical co-operation, leading delegations to Japan, the Philippines, the US, European nations, and Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central and South America.
Chen visited three Taiwanese allies in the region - Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Paraguay - this February, to share his experience in liver transplant.
He also successfully conducted reduced-size liver transplantation in 2013 on a Guatemalan baby boy with congenital biliary atresia, Lin added.
The minister praised Chen for his selflessness in sharing his expertise all over the world by publishing articles in international journals and training surgeons both locally and internationally.
"Chen has been an illustrious example in promoting medical diplomacy over the years. We thank him for his outstanding contributions."
Thanking MOFA for the award, Chen yesterday said it has been a high honour for him to receive the medal.
He noted he has always believed that medical expertise should be shared by as many people as possible because in doing so lives can be saved.
Chen added that Taiwan's current medical accomplishments are mostly achieved through assistance from the US, Europe and Japan.
"So it is only natural that we should give something back to the international community now," he said.