RITM gets funding boost from France in COVID-19 fight

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 30 2020 08:00 PM

A healthworker holds the universal transport media (UTM) which contains the specimen from the swab tests. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines' Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) will get a fund boost from France, under the ECOMORE II project that seeks to help Southeast Asian countries to cope with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The French Embassy in Manila said 2 million euros from French Development Agency (FDA) will benefit 7 Southeast Asian laboratories, including RITM. 

The project will also be supporting frontline laboratories in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, in their fight against COVID-19.

"It is essential to delay the peak of the epidemic in Southeast Asia as much as possible, as recommended by the WHO, 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.

Seven laboratories will be receiving direct support for additional equipment, diagnostic kits, protection for personnel, reinforcement of human resources, training and skills transfer, deployment of mass diagnosis strategies, and support for data processing in partnership with France’s Institute for Research for Development (IRD).

As of Thursday, the Philippines has logged a total of 8,488 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 1,043 recoveries and 586 deaths.