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

USG-UNICEF and MoH
U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Fitzpatrick joined Ministry of Health Director General Dr. Odete da Silva Viegas, UNICEF Country Representative Valérie Taton, and USAID Mission Director Jim Wright to launch a series of projects to combat COVID-19.
Cris Guterres/USAID

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

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.


USAID works in partnership with the government of Timor-Leste to support broad-based and effective development.  Since 2002, the United States has provided $542 million in development assistance to Timor-Leste.  USAID supports Timor-Leste in its efforts to build a more prosperous, healthy, and democratic country through programs that foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth, especially in the agriculture and tourism sectors; improve the health of the Timorese people, particularly women and children; and strengthen the foundations of good governance—all areas which are highlighted in Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030.  To learn more, visit: www.usaid.gov/timor-leste.

Last updated: June 17, 2020

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