Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, and Governor Bella Angara-Castillo will lead the groundbreaking ceremonies of the “Project for Improvement of the Aurora Memorial Hospital ” on January 20, 2011 in Reserva, Baler, Aurora.
The Aurora Memorial Hospital which costs approximately 1.09 Billion Japanese Yen or 509 Million Pesos is funded under Japan's Grant Aid Program. The project involves the construction of an all new Aurora Memorial Hospital with five sub-components: hospital building complex, utilities development, procurement of office furniture and equipment, site development and demolition of the existing buildings. Once completed, the hospital will have a capacity of 50 beds and will be qualified as a teaching hospital for the University of the Philippines Manila - School of Health Sciences (UPM-SHS), thus increasing the number of health professionals working and practicing in Aurora Province.
Shortages of medical facilities and human resources in Aurora Province are more serious than the rest of the Philippines, and as a result, its infant and maternal mortality rates in 2002 were the highest in Region III. This health project aims to address these difficulties and improve medical services in the Province, by constructing and equipping a Level-2 hospital in Baler City , which is the provincial capital. The hospital would be able to provide Level 2 medical services by specialist doctors in Internal Medicine, Surgery, Ob-Gyne, Pediatrics and EENT Departments. It would be the only hospital in Aurora that can perform surgical procedures, thus reducing the number of patients transferred to other provinces. Furthermore, the Aurora Memorial Hospital will be transformed into a departmentalized hospital that will provide general and complete specialty clinical care, including full nursing services.
The Government of Japan considers the health sector as one of the most important fields of humanitarian assistance, because health related issues is a major challenge in the way of economic development and meeting basic human needs. For many decades, Japan has continuously provided unwavering support to the health sector in the Philippines.
Japan is the Philippines 'largest source of ODA and has been a long-time friend and partner in nationwide socio-economic development. This project serves as a continuing testimony of strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines.