Japan giving 2 PH hospitals more lab equipment, supplies for coronavirus testing | Inquirer Business
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Japan giving 2 PH hospitals more lab equipment, supplies for coronavirus testing

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:17 PM July 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—Japan will give two Philippine health institutions new laboratory equipment and supplies to ramp up testing and boost the fight against COVID-19.

In a statement on Wednesday (July 22), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) said the equipment and supplies will be given to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and San Lazaro Hospital to “further boost the testing capacity of the two facilities and ensure quality of test results.”

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Jica did not mention the value of the incoming aid or when this will arrive.

In its statement, however, Jica said the lab equipment and supplies complemented an equivalent of P23 billion in “crisis emergency support” given in June by Japan to the Philippines. The aid sought to “strengthen Philippine response to the pandemic” and revive the economy, the Jica statement said.

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The Philippines was the first-ever beneficiary of Japan’s new crisis response emergency support program, a highly-concessional loan aimed at helping countries struggling amid the pandemic.

In turn, it was also the Philippines’ first loan for direct COVID-19 response obtained from a bilateral partner. Previous loans had come from multilateral lenders such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the World Bank.

Jica’s loan will support government operations, including hiring contact tracers, ramping up testing and other programs and projects to be rolled out through stimulus packages pending in Congress, according to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez earlier.

“COVID-19 is not only a challenge of one nation, but of the rest of the world,” said Eigo Azukizawa, Jica Philippines chief representative.

“Jica will continue to work closely with our partner-nations like the Philippines, as we have done in the past, so we can get through this public health challenge together,” he said.

Jica said RITM and San Lazaro Hospital were chosen as direct beneficiaries because both had been the aid agency’s “institutional partners in addressing health challenges since the 1960s.”

“It can be recalled that Jica’s cooperation with the Philippines on addressing public health began in the 1960s at the height of the cholera outbreak,” the Jica statement said.

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“A Philippine-Japan joint commission on cholera research has led to the establishment of a research institute for infectious diseases,” it said.

RITM, the statement said, had been established by the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) with the help of a grant from Jica. “The RITM, to date, is at the forefront of coronavirus testing and diagnosis,” Jica said.

The San Lazaro Hospital was Jica partner in pilot tests of Japanese firm’s advanced technology for not only fast and easy tuberculosis diagnosis, but also in efforts to lower TB cases in the Philippines.

As of 2018, Japan had extended the Philippines official development assistance (ODA) reaching a total of over P1.6 trillion.

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TAGS: #COVID19PH, aid, assistance, coronavirus Philippines, Disease, equipment, grant, Japan, Jica, Laboratory, RITM, San Lazaro Hospital, testing
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