The Government of Canada has provided 120,000 N95 respirator masks to the Department of Health (DOH) as part of its commitment to support Filipino healthcare workers’ efforts in combatting the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Canada is collaborating closely with the Government of the Philippines in the fight against Covid-19,” Canada’s Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur said during a handover event this week at the DOH in Manila.
“This includes regional cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and its member states because only together can we defeat the virus,” MacArthur added.
The masks were provided through a partnership between the Government of Canada, the Asean Secretariat, and Asean member states, that aims to mitigate biological threats.
Since 2013, the partnership has been working on strengthening biological security, biological safety, and disease surveillance capabilities in the region.
It has produced significant results and has enhanced the capacity of Asean partners to prevent, detect, and respond to all manner of biological threats – be they natural, accidental, or deliberate in origin.
“Building on this longstanding partnership, Canada has provided additional support to Asean partners to combat the Covid pandemic. This includes a CAD$4.5 million (approx. PHP165 million) in-kind contribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) items to 6 Asean member states, including the 120,000 masks for the Philippines,” MacArthur said.
The N95 respirator masks donated to the Philippines are valued at CAD$833,000 (PHP30.6 million) and are part of the CAD$3 million (approx. PHP110.3 million) in bilateral assistance Canada has pledged to assist the Philippines in the fight against Covid-19.
In addition to the N95 masks, Canada previously announced the addition of CAD$2.3 million (PHP84.6 million) for women’s health initiatives that are helping to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on maternal, newborn, and child health as well as on women’s sexual, reproductive, health, and rights.
These are the Sexual Health and Empowerment Philippines (SHE) project with Oxfam in cooperation with the DOH; and the multi-country Enhance Mother/Newborn/Child Health in Remote Areas through Health Care and Community Engagement (EMBRACE) project implemented by Adventist Development and Relief Agency Canada (ADRA).
Further leveraging multilateral institutions such as Asean, Canada has also committed CAD$5 million (PHP183 million) to the International Atomic Energy Agency to support the provision of Covid-19 diagnostic kits, equipment, and training in nuclear-derived detection techniques, to over 20 countries that have requested assistance, including the Philippines.
“Canada is pleased with the progress we have made together in recent years to address some of the most serious threats to global health security, including the threat posed by Covid-19 and other emerging infectious disease threats. For 43 years Canada has been an ASEAN partner supported by 12 diplomatic missions across the region including our Ambassador to ASEAN and our Embassy here in Manila. The Philippines and ASEAN have been key partners in this regard, and we look forward to continued close win-win-win cooperation,” MacArthur said. (PNA)