June 25, 2018
The Department of Health (DOH) has sought the assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to help address public health challenges in the country including establishing a rabies prevention and treatment network model.
The cooperation is meant to help address the Philippines' health target of rabies-free Philippines by 2020. In particular, the project aims to come up with innovative diagnostic methods for rabies, laboratory-based surveillance system, and evidence-based interventions.
Recently, JICA Philippine Office Chief Representative Yoshio Wada and DOH Secretary Francisco Duque signed the Records of Discussion to commence the project.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, rabies remains a significant public health threat with about 200 human deaths from rabies every year. The same report also cited the Philippines as among the top ten countries with high rabies cases.
The cooperation, which will begin this year, is under JICA's Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) that promotes international research collaboration between Japan and partner countries.
For the project, DOH and Department of Agriculture (DA) will work with Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, Oita University, National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), Kitasato University, Nagasaki University and Tohoku University. Japanese experts on human and canine rabies studies and diagnostic methods will also be dispatched to the Philippines.
Since the 1960s, JICA has been supporting public health issues in the Philippines with the establishment and upgrading of selected hospital facilities, technical assistance on maternal and child health services, tuberculosis and leptospirosis prevention and control, creation of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the recent support to the construction of drug rehabilitation and treatment centers and improvement of its protocols in the country.