May 28, 2021
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced this week the equipment support given to the Philippines through the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to help improve the data management and telemedicine for COVID-19.
The new equipment composed of laptops, desktops, and other information and communications technology (ICT) bring the total equipment support of JICA to Php 16 million.
At the onset of the pandemic, JICA has also provided equipment to its partner health institutions in the Philippines, including laboratory equipment for COVID-19 testing, pharmaceutical refrigerator and freezer for sensitive medicine and pharmaceutical supplies, as well as automated immunoassay analyzer of test results.
"Data management and surveillance will certainly help enhance the Philippines' response against COVID-19 and future health emergencies by providing health experts sound data and contribute effectively to public health policies," said JICA Chief Representative AZUKIZAWA Eigo.
Since COVID-19 began spreading in the Philippines in 2020, JICA has also collaborated with its existing institutional partners like RITM, San Lazaro Hospital, and will provide support to illegal drugs treatment and rehabilitation centers under Department of Health (DOH) to support the Philippines' pandemic response.
RITM Director Dr. Celia C. Carlos said, "The pandemic highlighted the need for rapid, full-scale, whole of society approach, and whole of government public health response. The equipment provided by JICA will help enhance our surveillance and testing capacity even beyond the pandemic, particularly on future outbreaks."
Aside from equipment support, JICA has also extended 50 billion yen COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan that may be tapped to support local government, scale up medical response, provide social assistance and small business relief, and support agriculture. Another 50 billion yen JICA Post-Disaster Standby Loan Phase 2 was also signed last year to provide contingent financial support to the Philippines' post-disaster recovery from disasters and public health challenges.
To date, the World Health Organization (WHO) placed the Philippines at Stage 2 localized community transmission at the national level, with Region 3, Region 4A, and National Capital Region at Stage 3 large scale community transmission.