On December 03, 2021, Third Secretary Yumi Yamada of the Embassy of Japan attended the turnover ceremony in Balete, Batangas for “The Project for the Provision of Medical Equipment for Rural Health Unit of Balete, Batangas.” Balete Mayor Wilson Maralit and Vice Mayor Alvin T. Payo also graced the event. Approved in 2018, the project is part of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).

       The Balete Rural Health Unit (RHU) is the main public health facility for its 24,000 residents (as of 2020) and provides outpatient primary health care services to about 6,000 patients a year. The limited capacity of medical equipment available at the RHU restricted the access of medical services. For example, since its blood chemistry analyzer was a manual type, it could only cater to 30 % of caseloads from patients with medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and angina. Furthermore, since the facility lacked an ultrasound machine, pregnant women used to travel one hour per way to the hospital in the neighboring town to avail prenatal services.

       Through GGP, the Embassy of Japan provided a grant amounting to Ninety-Eight Thousand Eight Hundred Eighty US dollars (USD 98,880) or approximately 5.2 million pesos to the local government unit of Balete. The grant covered the procurement of an automated blood chemistry analyzer and an ultrasound machine. Now that the project is formally turned over to the RHU, Balete residents, including 1,400 patients that require the use of the fully-automated chemistry analyzer and 100 patients that require the use of the ultrasound machine annually, can avail improved medical services and access.
As the top ODA donor for the Philippines, the Government of Japan launched the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects in the Philippines in 1989 to reduce poverty and help various communities engage in grassroots activities. At present, 548 grassroots projects have been implemented by the GGP. Japan believes that these projects will strengthen the friendship between Japan and the Philippines and contribute to sustaining strategic partnerships between the two countries.

Note: Grant Amount: USD 98,880; Dollar Rate 1 USD = PHP 52.135 (March 2019)