Japanese technologies help Africa and Asia fight COVID-19

UNIDO

Operated by the Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Tokyo, the STePP programme, which seeks to contribute to the inclusive and sustainable industrialization of developing and emerging countries, has already secured the participation of more than 110 Japanese companies with over 110 innovative technologies that focus on health and hygiene; the environment; the energy sector; and agribusiness.

To strengthen the global efforts against COVID-19, a dedicated STePP initiative was incepted in June 2020 with a US$4 million contribution from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to transfer much needed Japanese technologies and products to help limit the impact of the pandemic in twelve countries in Africa and Asia.

“13 leading Japanese technologies will contribute to improving COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in 12 African and Asian countries”, said Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, UNIDO Managing Director, Directorate of Digitalization, Technology and Agri-Business. “Despite travel restrictions, all stakeholders are connected and work together to implement these technology transfers”.

Due to COVID-19 related disruptions, technology transfer arrangements are at different implementation stages, with some having already completed the installation of technologies and the operational preparedness training for local staff. Japanese company AGC Inc., for example, completed with the support of its local partners its hypochlorous acid water technology transfer to a hospital in Danang and a food factory in Ho Chi Minh, with 39 employees from both the hospital and the factory now thoroughly familiar with the operation and maintenance procedures.

“We are excited for this technology to improve the hygiene condition in our hospital”, said Dr. Hoan Hai, University of Danang. “The Hoa Vang-Camle General Hospital is very pleased to receive the hypochlorous acid water equipment from Japan; This compact and easy to operate material will help eradicate bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19”.

Another example is Japanese company Chuwa Industrial Co. Ltd., which installed an incinerator at the University Hospital Fann in Dakar, Senegal. The incinerator does not generate toxic exhaust gas even though the University burns various medical wastes together such as plastic and rubber making this an environmental-friendly, smoke-free mechanism. Simple to use, the system also saves medical workers’ time as it processes large amount of waste.

“Overall, and thanks to the excellent dedication of all private and public stakeholders in recipient countries, as well as efforts of the technology providers, the projects are targeted to be completed by the end of 2021”, said Yuko Yasunaga, Head of UNIDO ITPO Tokyo. “We look forward to updating the progress continuously”.

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