RITM among beneficiaries of €2-million grant from France to fight coronavirus
MANILA, Philippines – France has picked the Philippines' Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and 6 other frontline laboratories in Southeast Asia as beneficiaries of a €2-million (P110,992,449.20)* grant to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the French embassy in Manila announced on Thursday, April 30.
The others are the Institut Pasteur of Cambodia, the Institut Pasteur of Laos, the National Health Laboratory in Myanmar, and the National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology, the Institut Pasteur of Nha Trang, and the Institute Pasteur of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.
RITM is the Philippines' main testing center for the coronavirus.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the French embassy in Manila said the beneficiaries can use the aid to augment their medical equipment, acquire more sets of personal protective equipment, purchase diagnostic kits, train medical staff, implement mass testing, and strengthen surveillance system.
The aid also includes support for data processing in partnership with France’s Institute for Research for Development (IRD) to strengthen the surveillance of the pandemic.
"Due to significant disparities in health systems both in the national and regional levels, Southeast Asia faces higher risks in the COVID-19 pandemic," the embassy said.
Following the commitments made by French President Emmanuel Macron, the French Development Agency launched the “COVID-19 – Health in Common” initiative on April 9.
Under this initiative, the AFD allotted an additional funding of €2 million in grants on April 28, for the ECOMORE II project to support the COVID-19 response in the 5 Southeast Asian countries.
In Southeast Asia, the Philippines currently has the third highest number of coronavirus cases – over 8,000 – as of Thursday, April 30. Singapore has the most number of cases at over 17,000, followed by Indonesia with more than 10,000.
The Philippines' coronavirus testing capacity is at around 6,000 tests per day, which the government wants to increase to 8,000.
The Philippines, with a population of over 100 million, has 19 operational testing hubs.
As of Thursday, the country recorded 8,488 coronavirus cases, including 568 deaths and 1,043 recoveries. – Rappler.com
*€1 = P55.40