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AusAID provides funds for measles outbreak response campaign in Timor-Leste

measles campaign in Timor-Leste
© UNICEF Timor-Leste/Tani Ruiz
AusAID donated US$ 865,855 to UNICEF Timor-Leste to help immunize an estimated 495,000 children from 6 months to 14 years across the country against measles. This represents about 43 per cent of the total population of Timor-Leste.

Dili, Timor-Leste, 06 May 2011-   AusAID signed an agreement to fund US$865,855 through UNICEF to support the measles control outbreak response campaign of Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Health. The agreement was signed by Ali Gillies, Minister Counsellor, AusAID and UNICEF Representative Jun Kukita with Vice Minister of Health Madalena Hanjam Costa Soares as witness.

A measles outbreak has been reported by the health ministry with already a total of 256 cases from two of the 13 districts of Timor-Leste, Dili and Ermera.  Most of those reported measles cases were below 14 years of age.  The number is particularly significant since the overall measles immunization rate is low at 68% and even lower for older cohort of children.

The situation requires a nationwide immunization campaign to prevent the spread of measles which have significant impact on the morbidity and mortality of Timorese children.

Signing ceremony
© UNICEF Timor-Leste/Vas
UNICEF Representative Jun Kukita and Ms. Ali Gillies, Minister Counsellor, AusAID exchange documents on the funding while Vice Minister of Health Madalena Hanjam Costa Soares looks on.

AusAID funds will be used to help immunize an estimated 495,000 children from 6 months to 14 years across the country which is about 43 per cent of the total population of Timor-Leste. Vitamin A will also be provided to help protect children from possible complications of measles such as diarrhea, pneumonia and eye infections.   Funds will also cover the nationwide campaign to encourage parents to have their children immunized against measles.

UNICEF and WHO with other partners are assisting the Ministry of Health in its emergency responses to the measles outbreak with treatment of complications like pneumonia and diarrhea along with Vitamin A supplementation for all children already affected by measles.

“It is important that all parents will have their 6 month to 14 years old children immunized against measles to protect them from life-threatening consequences of measles,” UNICEF Representative Jun Kukita said. “This is particularly important because more than half of Timorese children under 5 years of age suffer from under nutrition which makes them particularly susceptible to measles and its complications. I am very thankful that AusAID has immediately responded to the emergency situation to protect children of Timor-Leste.”


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For more information please contact:
Mary Ann Q. Maglipon, Chief, Communication Section, UNICEF Timor-Leste, HP: +670-7231103 Email: mmaglipon@unicef.org (English queries)
Antonio Gomes, Communication Officer, UNICEF Timor-Leste (Tetum queries), HP: +670-7232441 Email: angomez@unicef.org

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

 

 

 

 

 

Related links

AusAID

What we do in the region: Immunization

At a glance: Timor-Leste


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