THE ASIAN Development Bank (ADB) has donated two coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing machines to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as part of its $5-million emergency assistance for the country.
The real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction testing machines can serve around 100 people per hour and will be installed in the Philippine Army Molecular Laboratory in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
The testing machines, priced at $35,000 each, are part of ADB’s $5-million Rapid Emergency Supplies Provision Assistance to the Philippines approved in March, locally as Bayan Bayanihan.
Under the program, the ADB worked with AFP to deliver emergency food assistance to around 162,000 vulnerable households in Metro Manila and nearby provinces in April and May. The ADB also noted that the military has helped in implementing COVID-19 control measures in the country in the past months.
“ADB supports the Philippine government’s strategy to prevent and control COVID-19 by expanding testing, particularly in hardest-hit Metro Manila and surrounding provinces. We hope the new testing machines will help ensure the safety of AFP’s essential workers,” ADB Director General for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam said in a statement on Friday.
The government is seeking to raise its daily COVID-19 testing capacity to about 50,000 by the end of the year from nearly 31,000 as of Aug. 15.
The multilateral bank in March approved a $3-million grant to build a pandemic laboratory in the Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga which can process 3,000 tests daily.
In April, the ADB approved a $1.5-billion loan to help fund the government’s COVID-19 response program and another $200-million loan for emergency cash subsidies for vulnerable households.
The bank also okayed a $125-million loan in August for the government’s purchase and upgrade of medical equipment and supplies, as well as training to improve the country’s health care system. — KKTJ