May 29, 2017
On May 26, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Kinshasa to provide grant aid of up to 2.325 billion yen for the Project of Improvement of National Institute for Research and Biomedical.
The project will provide testing, research and training facilities and equipment to the National Institute for Research and Biomedical (INRB), the only national institution in the DRC established for the fights against infectious diseases.
The DRC has a weak healthcare system faced with challenges in its ability to provide medical services. Even today, the under-five mortality rate and the maternal mortality rate are high, at 98 per thousand births and 693 per 100,000 births (both 2015), respectively, and the country has experienced widespreadoutbreaks of Ebola hemorrhagic fever seven times. On May 13, the World Health Organization announced that an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever had been confirmed in the DRC, and addressing the situation is a priority.
As measures to fight infectious diseases, the INRB conducts testing and diagnoses along with basic research on multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, viral hemorrhagic fevers and other such diseases, while providing training opportunities to researchers and technicians. The INRB has also established a track record that includes joint research with the Institute of Tropical Medicine at Nagasaki University and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Ghana as well as cooperative work with the Infectious Disease Response Team from JICA’s Japan disaster relief team (dispatched in August 2016).
In addition to the challenges that the healthcare system faces, the country has neither enough facilities for the diagnosis and research of cell cultures nor adequate training facilities for the human resources that handle infectious disease diagnosis and surveillance.* In particular, the lack of a safe environment including biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratories puts the researchers at risk of pathogen infection and the like during the immunological testing and research. In order to further strengthen the initiatives to fight infectious diseases and train local experts, such facilities and equipment are required.
By expanding the facilities and installing equipment at the INRB, it is expected that this project will improve the environment for conducting diagnoses and basic research on tropical infectious diseases, while promoting the capacity building of medical professionals and researchers. It is also hoped that this project will make it possible to conduct testing and research that require a higher biosafety level.
In addition to this project, JICA supports the DRC in policy-making, reinforcement of the infectious disease surveillance system through the dispatch of experts to the Ministry of Public Health and training of the local mid-level medical providers, such as nurses and pharmacists, through technical cooperation projects and the construction of the National Pilot Institute for Health Science Education. Through these initiatives, JICA will continue to provide comprehensive support for strengthening the health system and fighting infectious diseases in the DRC.
* Data aggregation, analysis and information sharing of the infectious disease outbreaks to prevent epidemics.
|Country||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Project title||The Project of Improvement of National Institute for Research and Biomedical|
|Planned implementation period||30 months, including detailed design work and the bidding period|
|Executing agency||National Institute for Research and Biomedical|
|Target region, facilities||National Institute for Research and Biomedical, Kinshasa Province|
|Specific project details (provisional)||(1) Facility improvements, equipment procurement
Testing and research center: 1,572 square meters with three BSL-2 and three BSL-3 laboratories (for bacteriology, virology and the treatment of animal specimens)
Training center: 1,349 square meters with two BSL-2 training rooms, a conference room and other facilities
Clinical trial center: 144 square meters
Testing and research center: Biosafety cabinets, glove boxes, carbon dioxide incubators, sterilizers, other
Training center: Biosafety cabinets, microscopes, laboratory tables, other
Clinical trial center: Examination tables, patient beds, a drug storage cabinet, other
(2) Consulting services
Detailed design work, bidding assistance, construction and procurement supervision
As training and technical support, technical guidance for the operation and maintenance of air conditioning equipment, special equipment, and medical waste and wastewater disposal equipment for the BSL-2 and -3 laboratories