JICA’s cooperation with DOH, DA-BAI, LGUs and academia toward Rabies-free future in the Philippines


Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) recently conducted the 5th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting for the project 'Establishment of One Health Prevention and Treatment Network Model for Rabies Elimination in the Philippines' (JAPOHR), which introduces innovative rabies detection techniques to more than 50 local government units (LGUs).

Every year, at least 200 people die from rabies in the Philippines, and over one million people seek emergency care for animal bites. The good news is that a cooperation between the JICA, Japanese universities, DA-BAI, and DOH, among others, has upgraded the Philippines' rabies prevention system, allowing for faster, efficient and effective diagnosis and treatment.

The JAPOHR project is successfully concluding this year. Since the project's inception in 2018, Japanese and Filipino health experts have developed a rapid rabies test kit, which has been deployed in various laboratories nationwide.

Normally, rabies diagnosis takes two to three hours in the Philippines. With the rapid test kit, the diagnosis can be completed in 10 minutes very efficiently and effectively.

”Japan successfully eliminated this very dangerous disease in the 1960s and we now have useful know-how in this field, while the Philippines still encounters serious risks and victims. JICA takes pride in sharing many useful technical knowledge toward rabies elimination through this project. Beyond this, it’s also important to encourage more decision makers to take their initiatives in leading the Philippines to a rabies-free society,” said JICA Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema.

“We hope that this project will help support a one health approach in overall disease prevention and treatment in the Philippines,” added SAKAMOTO.

Over a hundred Filipino and Japanese health personnel were trained and approximately 84-million-yen worth of equipment was provided to the Philippines through the JAPOHR project. It has also enhanced the diagnostic and surveillance capacities of institutions such as Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), San Lazaro Hospital (SLH), DA-BAI, and several Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratories in the Philippines.

“The BAI remains steadfast in its commitment to maintaining the One Health approach introduced by the JAPOHR project for effective rabies case response. The sustainability plan that [was] discussed today by our organization and our partner agencies through this project -- including policy, equipment, technical, financial aspects -- shall be a commitment that we hope to uphold despite budgetary limitations faced by the BAI's rabies program,” said DA-BAI Director Paul C. Limson.

The JAPOHR project was implemented as part of the JICA’s program, Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS), which promotes research collaboration between Japan and partner countries such as the Philippines. Oita University, Kitasato University, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), Tohoku University, and Nagasaki University were among the Japanese institutions involved in this project.


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