Taiwan Church News
December 2 – 8, 2019
Dr Olav Bjørgaas Remembered for His Compassionate Medical Service in Taiwan
Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong
When he was 28-year-old, Dr Olav Bjørgaas, sent by Norwegian Mission Alliance to Taiwan in 1954 together with his newly married wife to serve in medical mission, passed away at his Norwegian home town on November 15, 2019, aged 93.
Starting his service for leprosy patients at Losheng Sanatorium in northern Taiwan and then moved to Pingtung and Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, his 30 years of medical contribution to Taiwan society benefited thousands of patients and children infected with tuberculosis, leprosy, polio, measles and even cerebral palsy.
According to the archives of Pingtung Christian Clinic, which was founded in 1950s by Dr Olav Bjørgaas and financed from his Norwegian mother churches, a big out-break of polio from 1959 in Taiwan caused Dr Olav Bjørgaas to work indefatigably with another Norwegian physician Dr Kristoffer Fotland to search those infected children from distant villages at central, southern and eastern Taiwan and brought them back to hospital for free treatment.
In the early 1960s, after he was turned down by World Health Organization(WHO) to supply ample polio vaccine to Taiwan, Dr Olav Bjørgaas successfully arranged American pharmaceutical company to make polio vaccines to import into Taiwan in 1962 and generously arranged 4,000 free vaccines for those infected children from poor families in southern Taiwan.
A memorial service for the good friends and patients of Dr Olav Bjørgaas is going to hold at the Assembly Hall of Pintung Christian Clinic in the afternoon on December 13th, 2019.
Translated by Peter Wolfe