UNICEF and the European Union focus on improving the health and nutrition of mothers and children in Timor-Leste

28 January 2020
UNICEF and the European Union focus on improving the health and nutrition of mothers and children in Timor-Leste
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2020/Monemnasi

MANATUTO MUNICIPALITY, 28 January 2020: The Ministry of Health (MOH) with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Union (EU) today is launching the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) strategy in Manatuto Municipality.

The launch in Manatuto will trigger activities both at institutional and community level. This would include community engagement to help them identify hazards of faecal contamination on water and food sources and its impact on the health of children and community members, in a bid to drive community-led actions to end open defecation, switch to the use of latrines and drastically reduce contamination. 

H.E. Fernando Sousa Junior, Administrator of Manatuto Municipality, Dr. Odete da Silva Viegas, Director General of Health Service Delivery, Ministry of Health, Simon le Grand, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation in Timor-Leste and Valérie Taton, UNICEF Representative in Timor-Leste, were in attendance to launch the activities, which are aimed at improving the health and nutrition status of children and their mothers.

The ceremony was organized and facilitated by the Administrator of the Manatuto Municipality and the Director of Municipality Health Services. Thirty-one Suco Chiefs, six Administrators of Administrative Posts, six Community Health Centre (CHC) Managers, and representatives of relevant institutions, partners and community leaders also participated in the launch event.  

With support from the EU and UNICEF, similar activities were launched in Baucau Municipality and will soon be extended to Dili Municipality. 

“The European Union well recognises the Timor-Leste Government and Ministry of Health strong commitment toward the reduction of malnutrition, through political declarations and sound national policies. I am pleased to say: "that the development and implementation of the Manatuto Municipality "Planu Asaun Komunidade Saneamento no Ijiene" is a good example in how to translate these national commitments into appropriate Government financial investment and actions both at central and Municipality levels”, said Simon le Grand, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation in Timor-Leste.

Lack of access to sanitation has real human costs leading to diseases, malnutrition and premature deaths. Recent studies and analysis show a strong link between open defecation and childhood stunting, which has an impact on cognitive development and future economic productivity. In Timor-Leste, respiratory and diarrheal diseases remain the top two causes of infant and child mortality, both of which are strongly linked to inadequate sanitation and hygiene practices. 

“Improving sanitation is critical for reducing the risk of childhood illnesses and combating malnutrition,” said Ms. Taton, UNICEF’s Representative.

“The 2013 Timor-Leste Food and Nutrition Survey revealed that children living in homes with a toilet are at lower risk of being stunted as compared to those living in homes without toilets. Community awareness, demand and ownership are crucial in moving away from open defection toward toilet use, and CLTS is globally recognized as a proven approach to make this happen. Linking CLTS with Mother Support Groups is also expected to sustain the municipality’s Open Defecation Free status, to facilitate improved sanitation and to help communities live in a safe and clean environment.” 

The CLTS initiatives in Baucau, Dili and Manatuto are part of the government’s commitment to make Timor-Leste Open Defecation Free by 2020. To drive this goal forward, social and behaviour change communication activities that promote home and family key care practices associated with Nutrition, Maternal, Newborn and Children Health (MNCH), immunization, sanitation and hygiene practices will also be utilised. Mother Support Groups will be established in the three municipalities to assist in promoting these key care practices and to ensure the sustainability of healthy behaviours and practices in the community. 

These joint efforts by the Ministry of Health, the Municipality of Manatuto, UNICEF and the European Union are part of a long-term strategy, working to improve the health, nutrition and overall wellbeing of every child in Timor-Leste, as well as their families and communities. 


Six of Timor-Leste’s municipalities have already been declared open defecation free. 

For more information, please contact:
Ministry of Health, Government of Timor-Leste:
José Moniz, Chief of Environmental Health, Ministry of Health
Phone: +670 78258529; Email: josemoniz328@yahoo.com 

European Union:
Marina Rini, Communication Officer, European Union in Timor-Leste
Email: mmarina.rini@gmail.com 

UNICEF Timor-Leste:
Rukshan Ratnam, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Timor-Leste (English queries)
Phone: +670-7723 1103 Email: rratnam@unicef.org  

Antonio Gomes, Communication Officer, UNICEF Timor-Leste (Tetum queries)
Phone: +670-7723 2441 Email: angomez@unicef.org  

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UNICEF ho Uniaun Europeia foka ba melloramentu saúde no nutrisaun inan no labarik sira iha Timor-Leste

MUNISIPIU MANATUTO, 28 Janeiru 2020: Ministériu Saúde (MdS) ho apoiu husi Fundus Nasoins Unidas ba Labarik (UNICEF) no Uniaun Europeia (UE) lansa ohin loron estratejia Planu Asaun Komunidade ba Saneamentu no Ijiene (PAKSI) iha Munisipiu Manatuto. 

Lansamentu iha Manatuto sei reforsa atividade sira iha instituisaun no nivel komunitaria. Ne’e inklui involvimentu komunidade no ajuda identifika risku kontaminasaun fo'er boot ba bee no fonte aihan sira, no nia impaktu kona-ba saúde labarik no membru komunitaria sira, no tentativa asaun sira lidera husi komunidade hodi hapara soe fo'er boot arbiru, ne’ebe uza sintina no reduz kontaminasaun lalais-liu.

Sua Exelensia Fernando de Sousa Junior, Administrador Munisipiu Manatuto, Dra. Odete da Silva Viegas, Diretor Jeral Prestasaun Servisu Saúde Ministériu Saúde, Simon le Grand, Xefi Koperasaun Delegasaun Uniaun Europeia (UE) iha Timor-Leste no Valérie Taton, Reprezentativa UNICEF iha Timor-Leste, marka prezensa iha lansamentu atividade sira ne’e, ne’ebe nia objetivu atu hadi’ak labarik no inan sira-nia estatutu saúde no nutrisaun. 

Serimonia ne’e organiza no fasilita husi Administrador Munisipiu Manatuto ho Diretor Servisu Saúde Munisipiu. Xefe suku 31, Administrador Postu nain-neen, Jestor Sentru Saúde Komunitaria neen, no reprezentativa husi instituisaun relevente sira, parseiru no lider komunitaria sira mós partisipa iha iventu lansamentu ne’e.

Ho apoiu husi UE no UNICEF, atividade sira hanesan lansa ona iha Munisipiu Baucau no sei habelar mós ba Munisipiu Dili iha tempu badak.

“Uniaun Europeia rekoñese di’ak Governu Timor-Leste no Ministériu Saúde atu reduz malnutrisaun liu husi deklarasaun polítika sira no polítika nasional mak di’ak. Hau iha prazer atu dehan katak, “dezenvolvimentu no implementasaun Planu Asaun Komunidade ba Saneamentu no Ijiene ne’e ezemplu di’ak hodi oinsa atu traduz kompromisu ba investimentu finansial apropriadu husi governu no asaun sira iha nivel munisipiu no sentral,” dehan Simon le Grand, Xefi Koperasaun Delegasaun UE iha Timor-Leste.

Asesu kuran ba saneamentu hamosu kustu umanu real sira, provoka moras, malnutrisaun no mate lalais. Estudu no análize foin lalais ne’e hatudu ligasaun entre soe fo'er boot arbiru ho labarik ki’ik ra'es-badak, ne’ebe fó impaktu negativu ba dezenvolvimentu kognitivu no produtividade ekonomika iha futuru. Iha Timor-Leste, moras infesaun respiratoriu no diareia sei sai hanesan kauza aas rua ba mortalidade infantil no labarik, rua ne’e hotu iha ligasaun ba kuran pratíka saneamentu no ijiene sira. 

“Melloramentu sanitasaun ne’e kritíku ba redusaun risku moras ba labarik ki’ik no kombate malnutrisaun, “dehan Sra. Taton, Reprezentativa UNICEF iha Timor-Leste.

“Peskiza Aihan no Nutrisaun 2013 hatudu katak labarik sira moris iha uma-kain ho sintina hetan risku ki’ik-liu ba moras ra'es-badak kompara ho sira ne’ebe moris iha uma-kain la ho sintina. Konsiensia komunidade, eziji no propriedade krusial tebes atu husik soe fo'er boot arbiru ba uza sintina, no PAKSI ne’e globalmente koñesidu hanesan abordajen komprovada atu realiza.  Ligasaun PAKSI ho Grupu Suporta Inan mós atu sustenta munisipiu-nia estatutu la soe fo'er boot arbiru, atu fasilita melloramentu sanitasaun, no atu ajuda komunidade sira moris iha ambiente moos no seguru.”  

Inisiativa PAKSI iha Baucau, Dili no Manatuto halo parte governu nia kompromisu atu halo Timor-Leste livre husi soe fo'er  boot arbiru iha 2020. Atu realiza meta ne’e, atividade komunikasaun mudansa hahalok sosial mak promove pratíka kuidadu iha uma no iha familia asosia ho nutrisaun, saúde maternal, bebé foin moris no saúde labarik ki’ik, imunizasaun, sanitasaun no ijiene sei halo hanesan mós. Grupu Suporta Inan sei estabelese iha munisipiu tolu atu asiste iha promosaun pratíka kuidadu xave sira no atu garante sustentabilidade hahalok saudavel no pratíka sira iha komunidade sira. 

Esforsu konjunta husi Ministériu Saúde, Munisipiu Manatuto, UNICEF no Uniaun Europeia mak parte estratejia prazu naruk atu hadi’ak saúde, nutrisaun no labarik-nia moris di’ak hotu iha Timor-Leste, nune’e mós sira-nia familia no komunidade sira. 

Munisipiu neen husi Timor-Leste deklara ona livre husi soe for boot arbiru.

Ba informasaun detallu bele kontaktu:
Ministeriu Saúde, Governu Timor-Leste

José Moniz, Xefi Saúde Ambiental, Ministériu Saúde
Phone: +670 7825 8529; Email: josemoniz328@yahoo.com 

Uniaun Europeia:
Marina Rini, Ofisial Komunikasaun, Uniaun Europeia iha Timor-Leste
Email: mmarina.rini@gmail.com 

UNICEF Timor-Leste:
Rukshan Ratnam, Espesialista Komunikasaun, UNICEF Timor-Leste (Lian Ingles)
Phone: +670-7723 1103 Email: rratnam@unicef.org  

Antonio Gomes, Ofisial Komunikasaun, UNICEF Timor-Leste (Lian Tetum)
Phone: +670-7723 2441 Email: angomez@unicef.org   

Media Contacts

Rukshan Ratnam

Communication Specialist (English)

UNICEF Timor-Leste

Tel: +67077231103

Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1820

Antonio Gomes

Communication Officer (Tetum)

UNICEF Timor-Leste

Tel: +670 7723 2441

Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1821

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF Timor-Leste and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/timorleste

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