MANILA – France is allocating 2 million euros in grants for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response of seven laboratories in Southeast Asia, among them the Philippines’ Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
The other beneficiaries include front-line laboratories in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
In the Philippines, the French Embassy in Manila on Thursday said the RITM will get support in the reinforcement of equipment, purchase of diagnostic kits, acquisition of personal protective equipment, training and transfer of skills, and deployment of mass testing that complements current molecular diagnosis.
The initiative would also provide support for data processing in partnership with France’s Institute for Research for Development (IRD).
The funding was awarded by the French Development Agency (AFD) to the ECOMORE II (ECOnomic Development, ECOsystem MOdifications, and Emerging Infectious Disease Risk Evaluation) initiative, to be implemented by Institut Pasteur.
“It is essential to delay the peak of the epidemic in Southeast Asia as much as possible, as recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization), by supporting partner countries’ monitoring policies and strategies pertaining to the spread of the virus through laboratory capacity building,” said Yazid Bensaïd, AFD Regional Director in Southeast Asia.
The project is in line with French President Emmanuel Macron’s commitment to global efforts against the pandemic.
Globally, there are now 3,018,952 cases of Covid-19, based on the latest data of the WHO.
In the Philippines, about 8,488 people have been infected, with at least 1,043 recoveries and 568 deaths as of April 30. (IA/PNA)