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EU-UNICEF handed over Equipment and motorbikes to Ministry of Health to strengthen Nutrition programme in 10 municipalities

DILI, Timor-Leste, 07 July 2017:  The European Union (EU) and UNICEF supported Integrated Nutrition Project received 52 motorbikes and equipment for implementation of the Nutrition Programme in 10 more municipalities in Timor-Leste. The motorbikes will be used by the newly recruited Sub-district Nutrition Coordinators to increase coverage of nutrition services and monitoring, while the equipment will further enhance the capacity of the health facilities.

Dr. Odete da Silva Viegas, Director General of Health Service Delivery, Ministry of Health received the equipment and supplies in the presence of Simon Le Grand, the Head of European Union Development Cooperation to Timor-Leste and Desiree M. Jongsma, UNICEF Representative in a ceremony held at the Insituto de Nacional (INS) in Dili.

“ The nutritional status of children and adults in Timor-Leste remains a significant challenge.  Adequate nutrition in the first thousand days is essential for children’s physical and mental growth. These supplies and equipment will be contributed significantly to improve our services in all municipalities,” said Dr. Odete da Silva Viegas, Director General of Health Service Delivery, Ministry of Health, during the event.

The equipment include 248 sets of height measuring boards, 274 electronic scales, 100 hanging scales, 552 packs of measuring tapes, and 52 motorbikes and helmets worth together US$ 149,600. It is expected that the equipment and motorbikes will significantly contribute to scaling up nutrition service delivery at the national level. These are in addition to the equipment, supplies provided for three municipalities - Ainaro, Bobonaro and Ermera including a vehicle to the Ministry of Health in 2015 and the vehicle handed over to the INS in 2017.

Started in 2014, the Integrated Nutrition project is currently being implemented nationally, reaching around 200,000 children under the age of five 94,000 pregnant and, lactating women with much needed nutrition support.

Malnutrition among children under five-year old, pregnant women, and mothers is a national issue, requiring comprehensive and integrated efforts to tackle. The Integrated Nutrition Project is addressing the capacity gaps as well as nutrition related behaviours changes in the communities.

“These 52 bikes and equipment, along with those previously delivered to the Municipalities of Bobonaro, Ainaro and Ermera, will support the work of the newly trained Sub-district Nutrition Coordinators in 10 remaining municipalities of the country. With these equipment, including the knowledge and skills acquired by the staff will certainly improve the delivery of nutrition services to the community and the nutritional counselling of mothers and their children. I am pleased to note that more than 50 percent of the trained Sub-district Nutrition Coordinator are women, which will contribute to improving the status of gender equality in Timor-Leste," said Ambassador Alexandre Leitão in his message.

Under this project, UNICEF has been working with the Ministry of Health and other partners for implementing various initiatives including developing and implementing the Specific Nutrition Intervention Package (SNIP/PINS). The package includes a set of National Nutrition Guidelines, Training materials and Job-aids targeted towards strengthening the capacity of the Primary Health Care Workers on the delivery of the quality nutrition services that are included in Comprehensive Primary Health Care (PHC) Package. 

“With valuable support from the European Union, UNICEF in partnership with the government and partners including WHO, WFP, FAO, CARE International, Alola Foundation, World Vision, and Health Alliance International is focusing on reaching out to all children, pregnant women, and mothers in the country to ensure better health and nutrition. While continuing and further intensifying our joint efforts, I expect that this valuable equipment as well as the motorbikes will contribute significantly to improve the capacity of the Health Ministry in all municipalities for ensuring quality service,” said Desiree M Jongsma, UNICEF Representative. “UNICEF is committed to providing, together with all partners involved, support to reach every child in Timor-Leste so that they have the opportunity to not only survive but also thrive into adulthood,” she added.

Since 2014, UNICEF together with other partners has been providing support to the Ministry of Health with valuable EU support to strengthen the capacity for nutrition programme planning, implementation, management and coordination; improving the access of women and children to quality nutrition services, and improving access to maternal, infant and young child health and nutrition behaviour change communication. 

After the completion of this project in December 2017, it is expected that the Health Sector will have improved capacity to more effectively reach all children and women including those who are living in the most remote areas and contribute to reducing malnutrition in Timor-Leste.

For Further information, please contact:

Ministry of Health, Government of Timor-Leste:
Dr. Olinda dos Reis, Head of Nutrition Department, Ministry of Health
Phone: +670 7825 8546

European Union:
Johanes Don Bosco Mau, Programme Officer
EU Delegation to Timor-Leste
Phone: +670 331 1580, ext: 406

Antonio Gomes, Communication Officer, UNICEF Timor-Leste (Tetum queries)
Phone: +670-77232441 Email:
Arifa S. Sharmin, Chief, Communication Section, UNICEF Timor-Leste
Phone: +670-77231103 Email: (English queries)



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