The European Union and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today announced a range of measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Timor-Leste. The measures were announced by Andrew Jacobs, Ambassador to the European Union in Timor-Leste and Valérie Taton, UNICEF Representative.
In the framework of the Partnership for Integrated Nutrition in Timor Leste, the European Union and UNICEF have agreed on a series of complementary measures, with a combined budget of USD 450,000, to support ongoing efforts by the Government of Timor-Leste to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"The European Union is at the forefront of the multilateral response to the coronavirus crisis and in Timor-Leste is working alongside the Government, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation to ensure forceful and coordinated preventive action” said Andrew Jacobs, European Union Ambassador to Timor-Leste. “The European union stands with the Government and people of Timor-Leste at this difficult time”.
With funding from the European Union, UNICEF will support the Ministry of Public Works and Ministry of Health in the reconstruction of basic water, sanitation and hygiene systems in public areas and health facilities in Dili, with potential expansion to Baucau municipality. UNICEF will also support the Ministry of Health’s work to strengthen awareness raising efforts at community level on necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Two videos promoting handwashing are already being aired on GMN TV under the collaboration between the European Union and UNICEF. In addition, and very importantly, through the Ministry of Health, some personal protective equipment (PPE) will be made available for health workers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic must be stopped, and we are doing everything we can to support the Government in its determination to prevent its spread in Timor-Leste,” said Valérie Taton, UNICEF Representative. “With support from the European Union, we are confident our ongoing efforts can be scaled up to address critical needs of populations, from the need for improved access to water in key public areas and health facilities, to getting lifesaving information to communities.”
The implementation of all other elements of the five-year partnership between the European Union and UNICEF to improve maternal and child nutrition programmes will continue during this period.
“We will continue working with the Government of Timor-Leste on maintaining programmes to improve child and maternal nutrition, improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene services, routine immunisation, and child protection. We should not emerge from this pandemic and face another that could have been prevented, such as children falling ill from vaccine preventable diseases, or increased malnutrition,” said Ms.Taton.