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Volume 50, Number 2, April 2017

Toward a collaborative model of pandemic preparedness and response: Taiwan\'s changing approach to pandemics 

Jonathan Schwartz, Muh-Yong Yen


Corresponding author:

Muh-Yong Yen, Corresponding authors. Department of Political Science, State University of New York, New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, New York 12561, USA (J. Schwartz). Division of Infectious Disease, Taipei City Hospital, and National Yang-Ming University, School of Medicine, 100 Kunming Street, Taipei, Taiwan (M.-Y. Yen). 


Background and purpose: 

Over time, as newly emerging infectious diseases have become increasingly common and more easily spread, it has become clear that traditional response mechanisms have proven inadequate to the task of prevention and control.

To explore whether enhanced cooperation with local government and community institutions can effectively supplement traditional state-centric public health epidemic responses.




Drawing on Taiwan as a case study, we assess the role of the whole-of-society approach to epidemic response as arises from the collaborative governance literature. The approach calls for enhanced cooperation, trust building, resource sharing and consensus-oriented decision making among multiple levels of government, business, non-profits, and the public in general. 



The Taiwan case illustrates the benefits of the whole-of-society approach. Enhanced cooperation between state, local government and non-state institutions, particularly neighborhood committees, has resulted in a strengthened, holistic epidemic preparedness and response infrastructure.




The Taiwan case provides evidence that by implementing the whole-of-society approach to pandemic preparedness and response governments can enhance their ability to manage future outbreaks. We recommend that governments beyond Taiwan's borders seriously consider adopting this approach. 


Key words:

collaborative governance, pandemic preparedness, Taiwan