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Timor-Leste makes rapid progress in child survival – UNICEF Report

© UNICEF/TIMA2006-00028/Tani Ruiz
Through Timor-Leste's health programmes such as immunization against preventable diseases, the country has successfully made very rapid progress in reducing deaths among children under the age of five.

28 September 2012, Dili - Timor-Leste is one of the few countries that has successfully made very rapid progress in reducing deaths among children under the age of five.

The UNICEF global Progress Report Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed indicates that during the last two decades, four countries— Laos, Timor-Leste, Liberia and Bangladesh — have reduced under five mortality by at least 2/3rds.  Timor-Leste had under-five mortality rate of 180 in 1990 and has reduced this to 54 by 2011 or a total of 70% reduction. Data source of the Report is from Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME).

Timor-Leste UNICEF Representative Hongwei Gao said: “We congratulate the Government of Timor-Leste and its people for this remarkable achievement of saving lives of children under 5 years of age.   This confirms that Timor-Leste’s consistent and collective efforts to tackle preventable diseases – including polio, measles and malaria – have had great impact on the lives of children.” 

“Efforts have to be sustained to keep up this achievement for children. UNICEF reiterates its commitment to work in close partnership with the different government agencies and development partners to continue to energize, focus and build on the significant progress for children,” Ms. Gao stated.

The Report which was recently launched by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake further states that across the world, the number of under-five deaths has decreased from nearly 12 million in 1990 to less than 7 million in 2011.  The progress over the last two decades shows that sound strategies, adequate resources and, above all, political will, can make a critical difference to the lives of millions of young children.

Despite the positive news, the Report says that there is still unfinished business: Millions of children under five are still dying each year from preventable illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhoea. 

There are still children under 5 years of age in Timor-Leste whose lives must be saved.  One in 16 children born in Timor-Leste dies before the fifth birthday.  Timor-Leste has signed on the 17th of September the pledge Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed indicating the country’s vow to redouble efforts and to focus on reaching the most disadvantaged children with life-saving interventions.

Children’s lives could be saved with vaccines, adequate nutrition and basic medical and maternal care. The Report says that world has the technology and know-how to do so. The challenge is to make these available to every child.

UNICEF works in 190 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.

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For further information, please contact:
Mary Ann Q. Maglipon, Chief, Communication Section, UNICEF Timor-Leste (English queries) HP: +670-77231103 Email: (English queries)

Antonio Gomes, Communication Officer, UNICEF Timor-Leste (Tetum queries) HP: +670-77232441 Email:




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