Press Release:United States’ Support for Timor-Leste’s COVID-19 Response Grows to $1.6 Million with new $500,000 funding for UNICEF Prevention Program

DILI, TIMOR-LESTE — The United States is investing $500,000 in the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to prevent COVID-19 in Timor-Leste, U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Fitzpatrick, USAID Mission Director Jim Wright and UNICEF Country Representative Valérie Taton said today in a presentation to the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Odete da Silva Viegas.

The U.S. contribution is from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) funding for COVID-19 prevention and response.  The funds will be used for risk communication, community engagement, and infection control and water and sanitation in health clinics in several municipalities.

“Good hygiene is important in any situation but especially critical in the fight against COVID-19,” said Ambassador Fitzpatrick.  “These funds will help UNICEF ensure health clinics in Timor-Leste are able tooffer clean water and proper sanitation to their communities.  The United States is proud to be leading the global fight against this deadly pandemic and pleased to partner with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health in that battle in Timor-Leste”, she added.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive disruption in the lives of children and their families in Timor-Leste,” said Valérie Taton, UNICEF Representative. “UNICEF sees the partnership with USAID as a great opportunity to blunt the impact of the pandemic, and also work on system that would benefit children and families in the long term.”

With support from the United States, UNICEF is implementing a strategy to continue to prevent COVID-19 by communicating risks to local communities, improving water and sanitation and providing necessary equipment for clinics, and using data to improve the overall COVID-19 response. The work is occurring in communities and health clinics in Baucau, Covalima, Dili, Ermera, and Manatuto municipalities.

To date, the United States has contributed $1.6 million to Timor-Leste’s fight against COVID-19. Working through a variety of organizations, including USAID’s Reinforce Basic Health Services and UNICEF, the money is helping the government prepare laboratory systems, track cases, support technical experts, communicate risks, and prevent the spread of COVID-19 through other programs.