The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), turned over RT-PCR extraction kits equivalent to 3,000 tests to the Philippine Genome Center. These RT-PCR extraction kits will help strengthen COVID-19 testing and genomic surveillance in the Philippines.
USAID Philippines Office of Health Director Michelle Lang-Alli handed over the extraction kits at a virtual event with Department of Health Undersecretaries Maria Rosario Vergeire and Myrna Cabotaje, Philippine Genome Center Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Saloma, and other representatives from the government and private sector.
“We hope that these kits will continue to strengthen testing and genomic surveillance capability of the Philippine Genome Center as we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Director Lang-Alli. “These kits will support the tracking of variants, which is key to curbing the spread and being in front of the virus as the pandemic continues to evolve.”
The U.S. government, through USAID, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State, has invested nearly Php1.4 billion to support the Philippines’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. government assistance has helped the country to implement internationally-recognized infection prevention and control strategies; strengthen laboratory systems; build capacity of frontline health workers to prevent, detect, trace, isolate, treat and manage COVID cases; communicate effectively about health risks; and roll out vaccines.
The U.S. government has also contributed Php100 billion pesos ($2 billion) to GAVI, the largest monetary contribution to this global alliance tasked with increasing vaccine access to countries throughout the world. To date, the Philippines has received more than 13.3 million doses of vaccines from the COVAX facility, with more than 6.2 million of those vaccines donated by the American people. In fact, one-in-five Filipinos will receive life-saving vaccines through the COVAX facility.
This year, the United States and the Philippines are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations and 60 years of partnership for development through USAID. Through USAID, the U.S. government is the biggest bilateral donor to the Philippines’ health sector, providing more than Php29 billion ($582 million) over the past 20 years. (US Embassy in the Philippines)