The Japanese government is providing the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) and San Lazaro Hospital laboratory equipment and supplies in an effort to boost their testing capacity for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also helping ensure quality test results.
According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the medical equipment and supplies will complement an earlier JPY 50 billion (P23.54 billion) COVID-19 Crisis Emergency Support they loaned the country to strengthen its response to the pandemic and revitalize economic activities.
“COVID-19 is not only a challenge of one nation but of the rest of the world. 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,” JICA Philippines Chief Representative Eigo Azusikawa said in a statement on Thursday.
Both RITM and San Lazaro Hospital are recognized as institutional partners of JICA in addressing public health challenges since the 1960s.
It was earlier reported that the Philippines ranked second in Southeast Asia in the total number of COVID-19 cases at 72,269 (as of July 22, 2020) next to Indonesia’s 91,751.
Along with the rising COVID-19 cases, government statistics also pointed to the high unemployment rate in the country due to the effect of the pandemic on the economy.
JICA’s cooperation with the Philippines on addressing public health began in the 1960s at the height of the cholera outbreak in the country.
A Philippine-Japan Joint Commission on Cholera Research was then created that led to the establishment of the RITM through the Department of Health.
The RITM is currently at the forefront of coronavirus testing and diagnosis in the country.