Venilale, January 27, 2022 – U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Tom Daley and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Zema Semunegus commemorated the strengthening of U.S.-funded water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) measures at the Venilale Community Health Center in Baucau. With $500,000 in funding support from the United States through USAID, the project advanced efforts to strengthen WASH systems in community health centers throughout Timor-Leste in partnership with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF.
“This accomplishment could not have been possible without the tremendous partnership between the Ministry of Health, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and UNICEF in support of the local community,” said U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Tom Daley. “The result is that health care providers, patients, and communities are less likely to be infected or become sicker when they seek medical treatment. The project will also enable Timor-Leste to be better equipped to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
“Safe water and safe sanitation are essential to providing quality health services,” said Marcelo Amaral, Director General of Corporate Services at the Ministry of Health. “Reliable WASH services are the backbone of hand and personal hygiene of both health workers and patients. We are in great need of ensuring sustainable water supply and well-functioning toilets, hand washing facilities and waste management systems at our hospitals and health centers. This could only be achieved through responsible management of limited water sources and an active system for care and maintenance. Ministry of Health has already identified this critical need and is on the way to develop operation and maintenance manuals for health infrastructure including WASH facilities and strengthen the capacity of staff in operationalizing those manuals. I extend our sincere thanks to the Government of United States of America and UNICEF for partnering with the Ministry of Health in strengthening WASH in health care facilities of Timor-Leste”
In April 2020, USAID provided $500,000 to UNICEF to expand Timor-Leste’s infection prevention and control, including relating to water, sanitation, and hygiene, provision of critical hygiene supplies, data collection and analysis, and risk communication and community engagement. The WASH improvements will support the Government of Timor-Leste’s ability to deliver quality health services to communities. As part of the U.S. response to COVID-19 in Timor-Leste, USAID announced in December 2021 an additional $1.5 million in funding to UNICEF to support Timor-Leste’s water, sanitation, and hygiene efforts in healthcare facilities, medical supplies for COVID-19 response, and risk communications.
“Infection Prevention and Control through the provision of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene systems in health facilities is a critical component of healthcare service delivery to keep children and families safe, yet, globally it often does not get the attention and funding it deserves,” said Bilal Durrani, UNICEF Country Representative to Timor-Leste. “Thanks to support from USAID, we are able to improve WASH in 34 health facilities in five municipalities in Timor-Leste, and ensure that people accessing these health facilities are safe and have access to water and toilets. This initiative provides an excellent model that could be scaled up to ensure sustainability of WASH in health care facilities.”
The United States has worked side-by-side with the Government of Timor-Leste since the beginning of the pandemic by providing 100,620 Pfizer vaccines and over $5.9 million in critical assistance to fight COVID-19. This U.S. support builds on over $250 million that USAID has contributed to support inclusive, peaceful development in Timor-Leste since 2002 as part of our longstanding partnership.