I am proud to join Mrs. Célia Alexandre Gusmão dos Santos, the Director of National Institute of Health today to launch the Human Resources for Health project. It is good that we are able to implement this program at a time when it is needed most.
Training healthcare workers is clearly essential for the security of the United States, Timor-Leste and the entire world. I would like to take this opportunity to share my respect and appreciation for the courageous work of all healthcare workers in Timor-Leste and around the world. The United States provided $637,000 to fund this program.
The United States is the world’s largest donor to global public health. We donate billions of dollars each year to fight diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, malaria and, now, COVID-19. Here in Timor-Leste the United States government has invested nearly $70 million in health assistance to Timor-Leste.
Our health assistance to Timor-Leste comes in many forms. USAID’s work with the Ministry of Health has developed a healthcare system model in Covalima that can be used for the whole nation. USAID has also worked with the National Institute of Health to deliver quality training to healthcare workers. Our U.S. Navy Seabees have built or improved seven health support structures in the past four years. This alone is an investment of over $1.5 million in the local health infrastructure. About one month ago the Seabees completed a building for the National Health Institute that will be used for training nurses and as a laboratory.
The United States’ funding for this program for the National Health Institute will support training that can help in the COVID-19 challenge. This is in addition to the $1.1 million that the United States recently contributed to help the Government Timor-Leste fight COVID-19. As we fight a difficult battle against COVID-19 at home, we continue to stand by our partners and look forward to working together for a healthy future for all of us.