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Japan to help boost Philippines COVID-19 testing capacity
Active cases in the country stood at 165,534, while total logged cases reached 884,783 as of Tuesday.
STAR/Michael Varcas, file

Japan to help boost Philippines COVID-19 testing capacity

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - April 15, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Japanese government is extending assistance to the Philippines in increasing testing capacity amid the continued surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan’s bilateral aid agency, is working with local health institutions to enhance COVID-19 surveillance in the country.

Active cases in the country stood at 165,534, while total logged cases reached 884,783 as of Tuesday.

JICA Philippines senior representative Ohshima Ayumu said JICA and the Department of Health (DOH) are formulating a technical cooperation project which aims to strengthen the Philippine laboratory network’s capacity on disease management and biosafety.

“One way to go forward is to help improve the Philippines’ laboratory and surveillance network to help them also prepare for future public health crises,” Ayumu said.

JICA also provided equipment to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa and San Lazaro Hospital in Manila to improve their testing capacity, support disease surveillance and enhance COVID-19 data management.

Further, JICA is providing medical supplies to DOH drug treatment and rehabilitation centers to minimize exposure and infection in the facilities.

JICA has an ongoing project with drug rehabilitation centers to introduce evidence-based relapse prevention programs among drug dependents.

The international agency said the pandemic highlighted the need to strengthen health systems, particularly the network of laboratories for surveillance, detection and response to emerging infectious diseases.

“The COVID-19 crisis reminds nations of the strengths and weaknesses of public health systems. We aim to help develop a roadmap as well as manuals and training modules to boost the Philippines’ response strategies,” Ayumu said.

Last year, JICA supported the government’s COVID-19 response and recovery through a total 100-billion yen loan.

COVID-19 TESTING
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