Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) provided essential medical equipment for diagnostics and treatment to COVID-19 infected patients. The handover ceremony was held on 19 January 2022 with the presence of Hon. Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Health, H.E. MIZUKOSHI Hideaki, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, and Mr. TAKASHIMA Kiyofumi, Senior Representative of JICA Sri Lanka.
JICA, together with the Ministry of Health, launched a technical cooperation project in May 2021 with a budget of Rs.300 Million to strengthen capacities in the preparedness and development for diagnostics and treatment services to combat COVID-19, and the equipment and online training opportunities have been provided to the targeted hospitals. In the Project, the essential equipment, including ventilator, blood gas analyzer, real time PCR machine, automated RNA/DNA extractor, and ultra-low temperature freezer, are distributed to the base hospitals in Teldeniya, Warakapola, Walikanda, Pimbura, Nawalapitiya, Hingurakgoda, Karawanella, and Avissavella (for mainly treatment) and District General Hospital Hambantota (for particularly PCR tests).
One of the specific objectives of this project is to improve quality of medical services relating to COVID-19 in the targeted hospitals by building up their operational management capacities. The Project expects that the targeted hospitals appropriately test, diagnose, treat, and observe infected patients and those suspected of being infected, and perform effective and efficient operation management in the event of the pandemic.
The JICA Fund has offered the following support:
- Provision of medical equipment relating to COVID-19 treatment and PCR test, and
- Online Training for medical staff of the targeted hospitals on strengthening, for example, nosocomial infection prevention, patient safety, and maintenance of instruments under the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, by introducing Japan’s experience.
In the ceremony, Dr. Rambukwella emphasized the strong Japan – Sri Lanka bilateral relations which has evolved during the last 70 years and the tremendous contribution made by people of Japan through JICA in the Health sector development in Sri Lanka. Further, he confirmed his consideration to full utilization of the provided equipment while emphasizing the proper maintenance and operations in long run. Also, Mr. MIZUKOSHI mentioned “it is honored to being invited to this ceremony as this is the first granting ceremony in 2022 which we celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Japan.”
Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka also, the Omicron Variant is now gradually fueling a rapid surge of COVID-19 that threatens to overwhelm health systems such as the wave of the Delta variant last year. In order to avoid endless waves of COVID-19, while services of the hospitals and laboratories are upgraded, it is still crucial for all of us to wear masks avoiding crowds and accelerate efforts to get everyone vaccinated for preventing contagion and keeping safe.