International Atomic Energy Agency gives PH medical supplies

Sofia Tomacruz

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International Atomic Energy Agency gives PH medical supplies
The Department of Foreign Affairs says a mobile x-ray, protective equipment, and materials needed to conduct coronavirus tests are among the items given directly to the Department of Health

MANILA, Philippines – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) donated P16 million (€288,540) worth of medical supplies to the Department of Health (DOH) to further strengthen the Philippines’ efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday, May 18, said the IAEA’s assistance to the Philippines include a mobile x-ray, personal protective equipment, laboratory equipment, and other medical supplies given directly to the DOH. 

The equipment is expected to strengthen the country’s capacity to detect COVID-19 through its “test, trace, and treat” program. (LIST: Countiries giving aid to Philippines during coronavirus pandemic)

In particular, the mobile x-ray system can be used by health workers to identify and characterize “pulmonary abnormalities” caused by the disease. Other donated equipment and materials were also given to conduct real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which remains the “gold standard” in COVID-19 testing. 

The DFA said Philippine Ambassador to Austria Maria Cleofe Natividad expressed the Philippines’ appreciation to the IAEA and its director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, for assisting the country. 

The Philippines has been a member of the IAEA since 1958. Assistance was given under its “Technical Cooperation Programme,” where the agency “encourages and assists research on, and (the) development and practical application of, nuclear energy for peaceful uses throughout the world.” 

“The IAEA’s assistance makes use of nuclear and nuclear-derived techniques to detect COVID-19, thereby demonstrating the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and its beneficial applications in medicine and health,” the DFA said. 

Aside from its assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, the IAEA has also assisted member states in the use of RT-PCR tests to detect diseases like Ebola, Zika, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV1.  – 

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.