DOH lauds JICA assistance for govt drug rehab program

MANILA-- The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday lauded the Japan International Cooperation Agency's (JICA) 1.85 billion-yen (PHP826-million) support for the department's drug rehabilitation program.

We are glad that the Government of Japan, as well as many other international partners, has stepped in to help the Philippines in its continuing effort to address (the rehabilitation of) an estimated 1.6 million drug surrenders as of the end of February, Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial told reporters during a press briefing held at the DOH media relations unit in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila.

The assistance was sealed in an agreement signed by Ubial and JICA Representative Susumu Ito through the program Consolidated Rehabilitation on Illegal Drug Users (CARE), which is aligned with the government's priorities against illegal drugs.

As a long-standing friend and development partner of the Philippines, JICA supports the DOH towards working for a common vision of a drug-free society, said Ito.

Ubial said the assistance will be used to improve the facilities of rehab centers and train DOH health workers involved in drug rehabilitation.

The department said that of the 4 million drug users estimated by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), 2.4 million drug surrenderers are waiting to be assessed to determine their drug rehabilitation needs.

It said some 12,000 patients are being treated in 44 drug rehab centers across the country, and more are receiving treatment in barangay health centers.

Of the 44 drug rehabilitation centers, 14 are run by the government, the newest of which is in Nueva Ecija, which is currently treating 179 patients.

JICA is a partner of the DOH. Back in 2013, following the devastation left behind by 'Yolanda' (Haiyan), JICA provided assistance for the rehabilitation of health facilities damaged by the supertyphoon in the Visayas.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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