The Japanese government has agreed to provide about JPY2 billion (US$18.8 million) in non-refundable aid to four major Vietnamese hospitals to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vietnam’s acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long and Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Yamada Takio on Monday signed a diplomatic note for the grant, which includes JPY1.8 billion ($16.92 million) for the beneficiaries and JPY200 million ($1.88 million) in agent fees.
The four hospitals to receive the funds are the National Lung Hospital, the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion — all in Hanoi, and Da Nang C Hospital in the central city of Da Nang.
The overall goal of the grant is to provide technical assistance to upgrade medical equipment to the four hospitals so that they can meet the prevention and control needs for the COVID-19 pandemic and other diseases and disasters.
The aid will be disbursed over 18 months beginning August 2020, according to the Ministry of Health.
The government of Japan has supplied about $19 million while the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided technical support, test kits, personal protective equipment, face masks, and face shields, among other items worth $1.6 million in total to Vietnam since the start of the pandemic, according to Ambassador Takio.
The ambassador also thanked Vietnam for donating over 1.2 million face masks to Japan when the country was in short supply of the items.
On Monday, the Vietnamese acting health minister and the Japanese ambassador also discussed safety measures for passengers after the two countries agreed to resume air routes later this month, the quarantine of Japanese experts in Vietnam, and the licensing of Japanese drugs in Vietnam.
The two sides discussed and agreed to speed up the Japanese-supported project to build Cho Ray 2 Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, which has been on the table for five years but has not been implemented.