UNFPA and Govt of Japan partner to Enhance Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care in Timor-Leste

UNFPA and Govt of Japan partner to Enhance Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care in Timor-Leste

Image Tatoli/Antonio Daciparu

DILI, 06 march 2024 (TATOLI) – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Timor-Leste is pleased to announce the signing of the Exchange of Notes between UNFPA and the Government of Japan for “The Project for the Improvement of the Facilities for Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care at Community Health Centers.”

This transformative initiative aims to reduce maternal mortality in Timor-Leste, which is currently at 195 per 100,000 live births. With a total budget of US$7.5 million, this scale-up initiative will be rolled out in the next three years.

Directly targeting 117,620 women of reproductive age and an estimated 20,618 pregnant women annually within the catchment areas of Community Health Centers (CHCs) across 12 municipalities in Timor-Leste, the project also indirectly benefits the entire population within these areas, estimated at 467,682 individuals.

Over three years, the project will achieve the following results:

  1. Increased access to quality maternal and newborn health services: by upgrading selected community health centers to provide comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care (BEmONC) services.
  2. Strengthening healthcare providers’ capacity: enhancing the skills and capacity of healthcare providers to deliver high-quality maternal and newborn health services.
  3. Encouraging facility-based deliveries: through social and behavioral change communication strategies, encouraging pregnant women and mothers to opt for skilled birth attendants and utilize healthcare facilities for deliveries, thereby reducing risks associated with home births.

This initiative aligns with various national and international policies and strategies, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan, the National Health Sector Strategic Plan, and UNFPA’s Country Programme Document for Timor-Leste.

The Ministry of Health of Timor-Leste and UNFPA identified the need for 36 BEmONC centers, based on accessibility and distance from communities, to reduce the number of maternal and newborn deaths. The National Institute of Public Health (INSP) will oversee the training of midwives, nurses, and doctors on emergency obstetric and newborn care, ensuring sustainability.

UNFPA remains steadfast in its commitment to improving maternal and newborn health outcomes in Timor-Leste. By aligning with national priorities and international frameworks, this initiative represents a significant step towards achieving universal access to quality healthcare services and reducing maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality.


Journalist: Camilio de Sousa

Editor: Filomeno Martins 


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