HON. ENRIQUE ONA
Secretary, Department of Health (DOH)
DR. ENRIQUE A. TAYAG
Officer-in-Charge of San Lazaro Hospital and concurrent
Director IV of the National Epidemiology Center
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat! (Good afternoon to you all!)
First of all, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude for the warm welcome you have extended to me and my colleagues. I recognize that San Lazaro Hospital is one of the most important hospitals for its vital function in providing affordable health care service to your fellow Filipinos, and I am very pleased that Japan had an opportunity to assist such important hospital in this endeavor through our Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects or GGP.
I would like to mention that Japan, as the top donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines, has contributed to improving the health situation in the Philippines. For many decades, we have engaged in various health projects in cooperation with the Department of Health (DOH) for protecting the health of the Filipino people as well as for strengthening the health system in this country. As part of our projects, Japan assisted this San Lazaro Hospital from 1996 to 2001 through a technical cooperation project that aims to prevent and control AIDS.
In this project, we have provided an additional X-ray machine that is critical in making a correct diagnosis for infectious diseases and preventing their progress. This is another manifestation of Japan's efforts in battling infectious diseases on a global basis. In 2008, during the threat of pandemic influenza, Japan provided the Philippines, through DOH, with antiviral medicines and equipment, which helped the Philippines enhance its preparedness for the possible outbreak of pandemic influenza. Japan also extended aid through the World Health Organization to help extend vaccinations to developing countries during the H1N1 pandemic.
I would also like to mention that the San Lazaro Hospital has long accepted medical professionals from Nagasaki University who are engaging in research activities of infectious diseases unique to tropical countries. It is impressive that the cooperation between two counties has been strengthened by these kinds of human-to-human relationship.
In closing, let me express my gratitude to all the people who have painstakingly worked for the successful completion of this project. I strongly hope that this project will be another testimony and milestone of the friendship between the peoples of the Philippines and Japan, which further fosters a strategic partnership between our two countries towards the future .
Maraming salamat po! (Thank you very much!)