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    Swift action prevents community transmission of COVID-19 in Timor-Leste  

    July 24, 2020


    Until the first confirmed case on 21 March 2020, Timor-Leste had no identified isolation and quarantine facilities, limited surveillance capacity and had just initiated in-country testing for COVID-19. The Ministry of Health acted swiftly and decisively to transform its fragile health system and prevent COVID-19 from reaching communities.

    National action and international cooperation
    WHO has been working since 2011 to support Timor-Leste’s efforts to strengthen its health system. Through the UHC Partnership, it provides extensive technical assistance in areas such as health financing, primary health care and human resources for health, thanks to funding provided by the European Union, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Irish Aid, the Government of Japan, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the UK Department for International Development and Belgium.

    Flexible funding and programming enable WHO to quickly respond to priorities identified by the government. This agility and a bottom-up approach has had a major impact.

    WHO was on the ground straight away when the first suspected case of COVID-19 was reported. The initial patient interview and testing support was provided by WHO staff, through the UHC Partnership.

    WHO then guided the nationwide response by providing technical assistance to establish quarantine and isolation centres, testing facilities, training health workers and emergency responders in case management, infection prevention and surveillance, and building capacity for data collection. It also provided the country with its first set of test kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers.

    “COVID-19 has emphasized the criticality of a strong and resilient health system focused on primary health care as the best response to this and future pandemics. Timor-Leste is firmly committed to providing universal health coverage to all its people,” said Dr Odete da Silva Viegas, Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health, Timor-Leste.

    Visit the UHC Partnership website to read the full story.


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