The European Union and international and local NGOs are providing 200,000 face masks, 5,000 litres of hand sanitiser, and 20,000 bars of soap to healthcare workers, vulnerable families, and rural communities affected by the Covid-19 crisis. The value of the equipment exceeds USD 200,000. Today the EU Ambassador Andrew Jacobs and NGO and civil society partners handed over samples of the personal protective equipment to the Ministry of Health in Dili, represented by Director General Odete Viegas. The PPE will be distributed in eight municipalities in Timor-Leste, particularly through local health centres.
The supply of PPE is part of an EU-supported initiative implemented by CARE, Oxfam, Plan International, Catholic Relief Services and World Vision, and with local partners, designed to help 32,000 vulnerable people overcome the health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19 in Timor-Leste. The EU is providing more that USD 1.4 million to support the project. new initiative is supported through a generous 1.3m Euro funding grant from the European Union.
The initiative will improve the health and well-being of vulnerable families in remote areas of Timor-Leste. In addition to PPE, handwashing facilities will be provided and water systems upgraded at health and community institutions, including churches. PPE and hygiene kits will be distributed to health and community workers in eight target municipalities (Dili, Aileu, Baucau, Viqueque, Liquiça, Ermera, Covalima) and Oecusse.
“The Ministry of Health will always need collaboration and cooperation with partners to respond together to COVID-19 in Timor-Leste. This will ensure communities do not have local transmission. The Ministry of Health is always extremely committed to prioritize intervention in the border area, so it continues to spread information about COVID-19 to and within families and communities, and to strengthen monitoring services in the borders and communities”, said General Director Odete Viegas.
“In Timor-Leste Team Europe is pleased to have made available over USD 3.5 million USD worth of support to help mitigate the effects of Covid-19, and more Team Europe support is on its way. The provision of personal protective equipment is an important part of the EU’s contribution. Vulnerable communities in rural areas, and the medical staff that serve them, are particularly in need of support, and the supply of PPEs is just part of a major initiative that we are supporting through a group of NGOs and local civil society organisations that will ease the economic and social burden that Covid-19 has placed on the people of Timor-Leste, particularly remote rural communities. said Andrew Jacobs, European Union Ambassador to Timor-Leste
“COVID remains a serious threat to communities in Timor-Leste. This generous support of the EU means we are now able to reach and support some of the most vulnerable people in Timor-Leste”, Kathy Richards, Oxfam in Timor-Leste Country Director. “Community workers and health workers are on the front line of exposure to COVID, especially in the border municipalities. We can now help these people to continue their critical work, safely and with appropriate protection.”
In addition to providing PPE, the initiative will help farmers to grow and store produce, and will help local vendors to local purchase produce, maintaining critical links between Timorese farmers and local markets. The project will also provide assistance to village-level savings and loan groups to adapt their ways of working for safe hygiene behaviours, such as physical distancing or smaller meetings.
Recognising that gender-based violence and harassment is likely to increase during the pandemic period, the project will also promote referral pathways for women and children seeking support from a gender violence, together with radio and social media sharing messages on positive parenting and ending violence against women.
Information remains a powerful tool in the prevention of COVID. The project is boosting prevention awareness outreach and messaging in communities through support to community health volunteers, radio broadcasting, and social media. A partnership with local media will help promote factual COVID-19 information to counter fake news.