The United States government, through the US Agency for International Development and the Department of Defense on Friday delivered P26.4 million ($528,000) worth of medical supplies and resources to bolster Davao City’s COVID-19 response efforts.
US Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava handed over 10 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, four COVID-19 vaccine cold storage units, and other medical equipment and supplies to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio at the launch of Davao City’s community-based COVID-19 response.
“As a friend, partner, and ally, the United States is one with you in fighting COVID-19 and facilitating long-term initiatives that ensure health, peace, and prosperity in the southern Philippines,” CDA Variava said.
In a separate turnover ceremony, the Japanese government through Third Secretary Yumi Yamada of the Embassy of Japan attended the ceremony and formally handed to Balete, Batangas Mayor Wilson Maralit and Vice Mayor Alvin Payo “The Project for the Provision of Medical Equipment for Rural Health Unit of Balete, Batangas.”
Approved in 2018, the project is part of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
The Balete Rural Health Unit is the main public health facility for its 24,000 residents and provides outpatient primary health care services to about 6,000 patients a year. The limited capacity of medical equipment available at the RHU restricted the access of medical services.
The Japanese Embassy noted, for example, that since its blood chemistry analyzer was a manual type, it could only cater to 30 percent of caseloads from patients with medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and angina. Furthermore, since the facility lacked an ultrasound machine, pregnant women used to travel one hour per way to the hospital in the neighboring town to avail prenatal services.
Through GGP, the Embassy of Japan provided a grant amounting to US98,880 or approximately P5.2 million to the local government unit of Balete.
The grant covered the procurement of an automated blood chemistry analyzer and an ultrasound machine. Now that the project is formally turned over to the RHU, Balete residents, including 1,400 patients that require the use of the fully-automated chemistry analyzer and 100 patients that require the use of the ultrasound machine annually, can avail improved medical services and access.