In 1986, the Health Bureau of Nantou County Government participated in the “Healthy Cities Project” that was launched in Lisbon, Portugal, and health in Nantou has improved ever since. Before 1986, the Health Bureau discovered that Nantou County was one of the least healthy counties in the whole of Taiwan. This has changed since.
The successful “Healthy Cities Project” was participated in by many other major cities around the world such as Toronto in Canada, Long Beach in California, Dublin in Ireland, Glasgow in Scotland, Liverpool in England, Shanghai in China, and Kuching in Malaysia, among others.
Through the Nantou County’s Health Bureau, there are now 13 public health centers and 47 public health rooms providing free health services to the residents of Nantou. Many of these health centers were greatly damaged by the September 1999 earthquake but Taiwan’s Department of Health was quick in repairing them. The goal of these centers is to effectively care for its people regardless of race, gender, age, wealth, and cultural background. The bureau strives to promote health, prevent disease and provide community-based, integrated holistic healthcare services and welfare. The “Healthy City Project” in Nantou took full effect only recently from 2007-2009.
Located at the center of the country, Nantou County is considered as the heart of Taiwan. In Nantou City stands the Center of Taiwan Monument, which marks the very center of the country. Nantou is the only county in Taiwan that does not have a railroad system and a coastline. With a land area of 4,105 square kilometer, this idyllic county is almost twice as large as Tokyo, more than double the size of London and three times larger than New York. The total population is 540 thousand people, with about a hundred thousand residing in the capital city, Nantou City. Compared to other tourist cities in Taiwan, Nantou City does not have much to boast of, but the attractions that it does have are truly amazing and worth visiting. The most important tourist attractions are the Sun Moon Lake, Chingjing (known as the Alps in Taiwan) and Joy Mountain within the Taroko Gorge National Park.
Visiting tourists are comforted that the city has good health facilities with competent doctors and nurses. Nantou also has an Information for Foreigners Hotline (0800-024-111) that is ready to provide information and assistance including those involving health. The county is equipped with a number of health centers in the city (at No.13, Sanhe 1st Road), near tourist spots as Sun Moon Lake, and in all other cities and townships. The Public Health Bureau is located on Fusing Road, Nantou City (886-4-92222473).
However, although the city is quite equipped for handling health cases, tourists and vacationers must strive to stay healthy and not need to visit the nearest medical center. Foreign tourists are first and foremost responsible for their own health. A simple step in staying healthy while in a foreign land is to stay away from local foods that are not familiar to the palate. Local Nantou dishes are very spicy and chili as they are very delicious. Foreigners that are not used to hot dishes should take it easy on the local cuisine. Other practical steps in maintaining good health in Nantou is to avoid drinking from the tap, staying too long under the sun, or partying excessively at nights.