2020-03-24 13:15:48 BdST

Jica to give five PCR machines


The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will give Bangladesh five Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines to ramp up testing facilities regarding Covid-19.

Besides, the agency will provide the country with safety equipment to help fight the spread of coronavirus.

However, the ERD ( Economic Relations Division) officials said Jica will not mobilize any funds for Bangladesh while supporting the country's fight against the virus.    

According to the ERD officials, the Directorate General of Health Service had approached Jica and submitted a demand order to it on Sunday. 

The demand to Jica through the ERD included 5 lakh Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), 5000 hand-held thermometers, 10 lakh sterile examination gloves and 3 lakh units of safety goggles.  

"Jica responded quickly and we hope to receive those equipment soon," the ERD officials added. 

Currently the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has eight PCR machines. The IEDCR has been testing coronavirus suspects on its own since the initial Covid-19 cases were reported on March 8 in Bangladesh.    

RT-PCR is a widely trusted, standard and reliable way to determine if a person has Covid-19. Some private hospitals in Bangladesh also have the machine, but they are not willing to deal with coronavirus patients due to safety issues related to their frontline medical staff.    

Health Services officials said they are mulling the expansion of coronavirus detection to the district headquarters as the disease is yet to show any sign of slowing down. The PCR machines will be installed at hospital in the district headquarters.   

The director general for health services, Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad, said the department has already formed a committee for personnel who will train, install and operate the new PCRs at the eight district headquarters. 

Meanwhile, the World Bank (WB) has announced a mobilization of a $100 million loan to support Bangladesh in fighting coronavirus.

Moreover, the Asian Development Bank may provide $500 million to Bangladesh to help the country improve its health system and to fight the spread of coronavirus.

ERD officials said the government has asked the ADB for 10 lakh corona testing kits, 5,000 hand-held thermal scanners, 30 lakh masks, 10 lakh units of PPE and other equipment.

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