The Embassy of Japan-UNICEF handed over 8.000.000 IFA tablets to MoH

The Embassy of Japan-UNICEF handed over 8.000.000 IFA tablets to MoH

Photo Tatoli/Francisco Sony

DILI, 08 september 2023 ( TATOLI) – Japan’s Embassy and United Nations Children’s Fund ( UNICEF) handedover 8.000.000 Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) tablets, to Timor – Leste’s Ministry of Health ( MoH)to improve the health of adolescent girls in Timor – Leste.

During the handed-over ceremony, Ambassador of Japan Tetsuya Kimura said Japan has been working with the Government of Timor-Leste on maternal and child health for many years, therefore this iron and Folic Acid was provided to help enhance the health and nutrition for adolescents.

“We believe that human resource development is one of the most important targets for a nation and improvement of the nutritional status would be the foundation of any human being, ” said Tetsuya KIMURA, Ambassador of Japan to Timor-Leste in the office of the Ministry of Health Kai- Koli Dili on friday.

According to José dos Reis Magno, Vice Minister of Health, Timor-Leste around 32 percent of girls between 14 yo 19 years suffer from anemia, triggered mostly because of the physiological and emotional changes of their bodies, which require additional nutrients.

Therefore with the support, He said, it will help the Ministry’s efforts to enhance adolescent nutrition among adolescent girls

“This initiative exemplifies the power of partnerships in addressing critical health challenges. We are immensely grateful for the support from UNICEF and the Government of Japan in our efforts to enhance adolescent nutrition among adolescent girls,” said Magno.

Magno said that ninety-five thousand (95,000) adolescent girls from Covalima, Lautem, Liquica, and Manufahi municipalities and RAEOA will freely access these supplements through the schools and community outreach sessions undertaken by the Mother Support Group Members. The aim is to provide adolescent girls with vital nutritional support to prevent iron deficiency anemia and its long-term health consequences.

At the same place the Country Representative of UNICEF, Bilal Aurang Zeb Durrani outlined that adolescent nutrition is a critical component of public health and addressing iron deficiency anemia among adolescent girls is a priority for Timor-Leste. 

He said Anemia among adolescents leads to poor school performance, reduced attention span, memory loss, and increased school drop-out rate. Anemia also leads to reduced immunity and increased infection rates. Iron and Folic Acid supplementation is a proven strategy to combat this widespread health concern and ensure that young girls receive the essential nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.

“Today’s event represents our collective commitment to long-term investments in the health, nutrition, and future of our adolescent girls by protecting them against all forms of malnutrition. UNICEF is honored to stand alongside our partners in this shared journey towards improved nutrition and well-being for all,” said Durrani.

The handover of IFA supplies is a part of the project “Specific Nutrition Intervention Package to Address Maternal, Child and Adolescent Undernutrition in Timor-Leste”, implemented by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF and entirely funded by the people of Japan.


Journalist: Camilio de Sousa 

Editor: Nelia Borges


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