Ambassador Kathleen Fitzpatrick Remarks at Handover Ceremony of Vital Signs Monitors to Health Ministry

Good Morning,

My respects to:

Health Minister – HE Dr. Odete Belo

Director General – Dr. Odete da Silva Viegas

MoH Director for Health Policy – Mr. Narciso Fernandes

Director for Case Management – Dr. Nilton do Carmo da Silva

USAID Mission Director Mr. Jim Wright

I am pleased to join the Minister of Health today to handover these 10 vital signs monitors, provided by the United States of America. These 10 vital signs monitors will improve the ability of Timorese healthcare workers to diagnose and treat patients. They will enable health professionals to check temperature, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and other essential vitals for patients with all types of illnesses. The Ministry of Health, the government, and the people of Timor-Leste have successfully avoided the spread of COVID-19 in Timor-Leste. Timor-Leste’s many dedicated health workers and first responders deserve our special thanks. Timorese women and men are working tirelessly every day to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases. We want them to know that the United States stands with them. These monitors are just one example of support from the United States. This project is part of the $2.6 million that the United States has provided so far to support Timor-Leste’s fight against COVID-19.  That amount is increasing almost every day. We provided an initial $1.1 million, then $500,000 to UNICEF. And we are funding various other projects now and in the future such as handwashing stations, masks for school children and a generator at the Vera Cruz clinic.

In fact, the United States has supported Timor-Leste’s health sector since independence, providing over $70 million to strengthen the health system and access to health services for the Timorese people.  As Americans confront this deadly virus every day, we are also doing everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and improve healthcare in countries around the world. The United States continues to be the largest contributor to multilateral organizations fighting COVID-19, and those organizations are also active here in Timor-Leste. As Timor-Leste’s leaders have said, this is no time to let down our guard. The virus is still plaguing the world and COVID-19 is surging in many countries, including in Indonesia. We all need to continue to practice good hygiene, physical distancing and wearing masks when close to other people. These simple actions have been proven to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

In closing, I would like to applaud the work of the government and people of Timor-Leste in confronting this public health emergency. The United States of America remains a steadfast partner with Timor-Leste in its efforts to fight COVID-19.  We share Timor-Leste’s goals on its journey to self-reliance.