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Japan grants $3.7 million to help in Kingdom’s COVID-19 pandemic fight

Jordan and Japan on Monday signed an agreement under which the Japanese government will provide a $3.7 million grant to the Ministry of Health in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The grant, which was signed at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, aims also to support providing medical equipment, the public health system and strengthen the healthcare sector, which is part of the Kingdom's Economic and Social Development Programme.
 
The agreement was signed by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Wissam Rabadi, on behalf of the Jordanian government, and the Japanese Ambassador to Jordan Hidenao Yanagi, on behalf of the Japanese government. Health Minister Saad Jaber and relevant officials attended the signing ceremony.
 
The grant is part of the emergency aid package the government of Japan recently announced for the provision of medical equipment to the countries that are fighting COVID-19, said Rabadi at a press conference.
 
"This urgent support by the Japanese government is designed to provide medical equipment to strengthen the public health and medical system in the recipient country affected by COVID-19, including Jordan," Rabadi said.
 
The minister pointed to the “deep historical relations” between the two countries on various levels, adding that since 2009 to date, "Jordan has received nearly $1.7 billion, of which $599.42 million were in the form of grants and the rest in soft loans, as well as technical assistance provided to Jordan through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.
 
"I would like to reiterate our appreciation to the Japanese government for its generous financial and technical assistance, and we look forward to not only maintaining, but rather expanding our cooperation in the future to help us address various challenges and implement priority projects," the minister said.
 
Meanwhile, Jaber stressed during the press conference that the agreement “confirms the true partnership” between the Kingdom and Japan, especially in the fight against COVID-19.
 
"The Jordanian government provided support to the Japanese government during the COVID-19 crisis by providing personal protection material, and now Japan is providing support to the Kingdom in the field of medical equipment," Jaber said.
 
The health minister also highlighted the close medical cooperation between the two governments, pointing to the ongoing study in Japan, as Jordan was selected as part of the study.
 
The study is related to an anti-viral drug that is being used in Japan and needs clinical validation. Jordan requested to take part in this study as this drug is similar to the one being used in the US and other countries, Jaber told The Jordan Times.
 
"We produced both drugs, but this one is subject to clinical trials to test its effectiveness and the initial results in Japan have been encouraging, so Jordan is part of the scientific work and we will start using this drug after going through the proper Jordanian health protocols," Jaber added.
 
Also addressing the press, Yanagi said that Japan commends Jordan's “success” in preventing the spread of the COVID-19.
 
"Combating the COVID-19 pandemic will take a long time and that is why I would like to reiterate that it is essential to strengthen the health system in each country and we very pleased to be able to extend this assistance valued approximately at $3.7 million to Jordan," Yanagi said.
 
The Japanese ambassador highlighted the telephone call between His Majesty King Abdullah and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last April, where the two sides agreed to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19, adding that he is hopeful the new grant "contributes to Jordan's fight against COVID-19 and help in its life-saving efforts".
 
Jordan Times 
27 July 2020