The project launch ceremony of Learning from China's Experience to Improve the Ability of Response to COVID-19 in the Asia-Pacific Region, was held in Manila on Aug 13.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque, and Selva Ramachandran, the resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines, attended the ceremony.
Duque said that as COVID-19 continues to spread, the pressure on the Philippine health system is rising and the environmental impact of medical waste is becoming increasingly serious. The Chinese government and the UNDP have provided timely assistance and shared technology, knowledge and insights, which has offered support and valuable experience to the Philippines in fighting the pandemic. The people of the Philippines feel the Chinese people's friendship through this and the Philippines is deeply grateful.
Ramachandran said that the ongoing rapid spread of COVID-19 has put health systems of countries in the Asia-Pacific region under great pressure. The disposal of medical waste is an important challenge for developing countries to respond to the pandemic and improve their health systems.
The Regional COVID-19 Response Project, under the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF), will provide equipment and technical support to the Philippine health sector to improve the country's medical waste management system and enhance its anti-pandemic capacity. This project is the first cooperation between the UNDP and the Chinese government in the Philippines, and the UNDP is very grateful for China's support and contribution towards the project, said Ramachandran.
Huang said that China and the Philippines are friendly neighbors separated only by a strip of water. In the fight against the pandemic, the two countries have always stood by and helped each other.
At present, the Philippines is at a critical moment in its fight against COVID-19. The Chinese government has donated a large amount of medical supplies and sent a team of medical experts to provide support, and has taken the lead in donating 1 million doses of vaccine to the Philippines, said Huang. More than 20 million doses of Chinese vaccines procured by the Philippines' government have been delivered to the country, playing an important role in its response to the pandemic.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, the healthcare system in developing countries is under great pressure, and the disposal of medical waste, especially infectious medical waste, has become an urgent problem that negatively impacts the sustainability of the local healthcare system and its ability to cope with the pandemic.
The SSCAF Regional COVID-19 Response Project aims to put into practice the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind. It will provide advanced medical waste treatment equipment and related training courses to the Philippines.
Huang said he hopes that with the joint efforts of China, the UNDP, the Philippine Ministry of Health and other departments and agencies, the project will help the Philippines to improve its medical waste management capacity, so that it can respond more effectively to the pandemic.
The SSCAF Regional COVID-19 Response Project is a cooperation project under the SSCAF operated by the China International Development Cooperation Agency, which aims to share China's experience in fighting COVID-19, and seeks to help five countries, namely the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal and Laos, cope with the pandemic, while supporting the integrated construction of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The project fully demonstrates China's willingness and determination to share its anti-pandemic experience and to help countries in the Asia-Pacific region defeat COVID-19 as soon as possible.