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UPM-CPH inaugurates LepCon Laboratory

Mr. Takahiro Sasaki,Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Dr. Jaime Montoya, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST), stood side by side in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the inauguration of the long awaited LepCon Laboratory.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the inauguration of the LepCon Laboratory at the Lara Hall, University of the Philippines Manila – College of Public Health (UPM-CPH) on January 26, 2012. The event was graced by Mr. Takahiro Sasaki, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) on behalf of DOST Sec. Mario G. Montejo, Dr. Takeshi Kasai, Director of the Division of Health Securities and Emergency of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Manuel B. Agulto, Chancellor of the UPM, Professor Shin-Ichi Yoshida of the Kyushu University (KU) - Department of Bacteriology Faculty of Medical Sciences, Dr. Nina G. Gloriani, Dean of the UPM-CPH and Professor Emeritus Yasutake Yanagihara, the pioneering scientist in leptospirosis research in the Philippines.

In his message, read by Dr. Montoya, the DOST Secretary mentioned the importance of the establishment of the said laboratory in helping the communities affected by the disease.

He said, “The importance of early case detection and treatment cannot be over emphasized. Aside from people’s awareness of the disease, laboratory support for the diagnosis is equally crucial.”

The program for the Prevention and Control of Leprospirosis (LepCon) in the Philippines was started by the UPM-CPH on April 1, 2010 in collaboration with JICA, PCHRD-DOST, KU and the WHO. Through the collaborative work of Filipino and Japanese scientists from UPM and KU, it aims to be the center of leptospirosis research, not only in the Philippines, but also in Asia.

Mr. Sasaki and Dean Gloriani signed the Deed of Donation for the JICA-funded renovation of the 4th floor of Lara Hall as the new LepCon laboratory and procurement of new, state-of-the-art lab equipment.

Dean Gloriani expressed her appreciation and excitement for the future of leptospirosis R&D in Asia because of the establishment of the said laboratory and the progress in the joint researches of UPM-CPH and KU-Faculty of Medical Sciences.

She said, “Thank you very much and we hope that we can further expand our collaboration. Our SEAMEO TropMed Representatives are here; SEAMEO TropMed of Thailand and SEAMEO TropMed of Malaysia. I hope that we can really expand our research from the Philippines to these two countries and to the rest of ASEAN later on.”