July 19, 2018
The Department of Health (DOH), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Provincial Government of Cavite held a groundbreaking ceremony for a drug treatment and rehabilitation center (TRC) in Trece Martires City, Cavite as part of its ongoing development cooperation to provide rehabilitation support to drug dependents and integrate them back to society.
The construction of TRC is a component of a JPY 1.85 Billion DOH-JICA program grant called Consolidated Rehabilitation of Illegal Drug Users (CARE). This bilateral project aims to improve DOH's operational and service standards for recovering drug dependents and develop information materials on preventive education and awareness against illegal drugs.
"Through this TRC, we'd like to support DOH's efforts in rehabilitating drug dependents and integrating them back to society," said JICA Chief Representative Yoshio Wada.
A JICA-DOH preliminary study on illicit drug users in the Philippines showed that of the nearly 3,000 recovering drug users admitted to TRCs or those who surrendered, 38% of those surveyed have zero or less than one thousand pesos income. Government data also showed that majority of drug dependents in the Philippines (53%) are unemployed (Dangerous Drugs Board 2015 data).
The TRC will be constructed in a 5-hectare land donated by the Provincial Government of Cavite and is proposed to have a 500-bed capacity.
The Philippines currently has 53 DOH-accredited treatment and rehabilitation centers in the country.
To complement CARE, JICA is also implementing a technical cooperation with DOH called Introducing Evidence-based Relapse Prevention Program to Drug Dependence Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers (IntERlaPP). The cooperation, meanwhile, aims to establish an evidence-based relapse prevention model to strengthen the capacity of Filipino health providers on drug dependence treatment.
Already, a team of DOH doctors, Japanese experts, and project team members went to the United States to study the Matrix Model, an intensive outpatient addiction treatment modality, and how it can be applied to the Philippines. The model focuses on cognitive behavioral change of drug patients by keeping them busy with productive activities and constantly engaging their family for support. In addition, in the beginning of July 2018, officials of DOH and selected DOH-retained TRCs visited Japan to observe its treatment and rehabilitation protocols for drug dependents.
Aside from said projects, JICA has been supporting the Philippines' public health issues since the 1960s including maternal and child health services, building of hospitals and research institutes for infectious diseases, among others.