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The Assessment of and Adaptation to Disease Risk in Liouciou Township, Taiwan

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Liouciou Island, located off the south western coast of Taiwan, has 12,550 inhabitants of which high proportion are elderly and fisherman. The medical services are provided mainly by the local Public Health Clinic. Any emergencies or major medical treatment requires patients to be transferred to a regional hospital in Taiwan, which normally takes 40 minutes by the Ambulance boat. The aims of this paper are: 1) To examine the potential risk factors of disease based on the geography and medical services of Liouciou island; 2) To analyze the participants’ perception of disease risk on the island at various spatial scales (individual, family, neighbor, island or nation); 3) To analyze the adjustment strategies towards disease risks used by the Liouciou island people. Questionnaires and in-depth interviews were used to gather the information. The results show that participants in Liouciou worried about the Ambulance boat not being able to sail in bad weather conditions. In addition, the young people complained about the local medical facilities and physician’s skill while the elderly admitted their life was predetermined by God. The fishermen also reported that they were unable to follow up on their chronic disease. As a result, most of them ignored their health.

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Issue: Volume 6, Issue 2, 2012