ERMERA, 07 march 2023 (TATOLI)—The European Union (EU) together with UNFPA (UN Population Fund) supports the Ministry of Health (MoH) to establish a Safe Space or Safe Room at the Inpatient Community Health Center (CHC) of the municipality of Ermera to serve clients CBV (Gender Based Violence).
The Safe Room facility will offer a comprehensive range of services and provide first-line support to VBV survivors.
The EU-UN Global Spotlight Initiative will strengthen the health sector’s response to gender-based violence (VBV) in Timor-Leste.
This Safe Room is the third center to be set up in Timor-Leste as part of the global EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls.
Marc Fiedrich, EU Ambassador to Timor-Leste said the EU is happy to support the Government by providing adequate venues where survivors of violence can find support.
“This is a confidential environment where victims can have opportunities for healing, prevention, and empowerment, contributing to creating a more equal Timorese society where gender-based violence cannot be tolerated”, said Marc Friedrich
According to Friedrich, having Safe Spaces within the health sector is very important to identify cases of VBJ, provide medical care to women and girls who are survivors of violence, and refer them to other essential services, such as shelters, counseling centers, or specialized medical care.
UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Director, Mr. Björn Andersson noted the role of the health sector is critical to ending all forms of gender-based violence, given that healthcare providers are usually the first point of contact for survivors.
“I am very pleased to be a part of the launch of the Safe Room at SSI Ermera, an important step towards strengthening the health sector’s ability to prevent and respond to gender-based violence,” he said.
The Minister of Health, Odete Maria Freitas Belo also thanked every partner who is always there to support the Ministry of Health in serving the community and asked that health workers contribute to caring for existing facilities.
“I hope that in the future we can build a safe space in our hearts because as we know, the safe space we launched today is the result of the violence that happens around us every day, and if we can protect each other and not create violence, we don’t need a safe house like this anymore,” he said.
SSI Ermera Safe Room started the establishment process on 17th December 2023 with full support from EU – UNFPA with funding of $31,107.58 on 104.4m2lands.
To ensure maximum service, four health workers have been prepared and the Safe Room has facilities for counseling rooms, bedrooms for clients if they need them, and a home for health workers, as well as bathrooms sensitive to gender and disability.
The launch event was also attended by a UNFPA Representative in Timor-Leste, Pressia Arifin Cabo, and Representatives from the Secretariat for Inclusive and Equality Countries (SoSIE), Ermera Municipal Authority, Ermera Municipal Health Service, Representatives of PNTL, F-FDTL, and the local community.
Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá
Editor: Nelia B.