Some 97 percent of all children in Timor-Leste under the age of five years old received their full immunization according to national data provided by the Ministry of Health 2016.

Some 97 percent of all children in Timor-Leste under the age of five years old received their full immunization.

Prime Minister Dr Rui Maria de Araujo said the immunization program from 2015-2016 in Timor-Leste showed significant progress particularly with access to immunization services but better coordination with local leaders is still necessary.
He said the role of local leaders is very important for working together with health personnel, sharing information with the community on the importance of Immunization Day’s so that the community brings their children to the health facilities as per the immunization schedule.
The Prime Minister said once vaccines are opened they must be used or they will expire.
"If the community does not receive information, they will not know that they must bring their kids to the health facilities. And when they do if we said to come again tomorrow, they will go and never come back. We must consider this carefully so that there are good lines of coordination between health personnel and local leaders," he said.
The Prime Minister added that the Timorese government welcomes the support of UNICEF, GAVI and WHOL to strengthen the immunization program by increasing its area of coverage and ensure all children have access to the program.
"Over 40.000 children are born annually. They should all received a vaccine during their first year,” he said.
He added that children should be vaccinated against a range diseases including Hepatitis B , polio, tetanus and BCG to protect from tuberculosis.
He encourages health personnel to seek out children in their homes if their parents do not take them to a health facility to receive their vaccines.
Meanwhile Bemori Suku Chief, Cristalina Oliveira said she was ready to work with the health staff of the health centers with sharing information to the communities about the importance of participating in the immunization program.
"As the chief of a suku and as a mother I think it is very important to protect our children from diseases," she said.
She acknowledged that it was not easy to convince the community but it was their responsibility to keep reminding mothers about the importance of giving immunization to their children.
On the other hand, the representative of UNICEF in Timor-Leste, Desiree Monique Jongsma agreed that the immunization program in Timor-Leste is very good because of the high number of children accessing the program.
She hopes rates in Timor-Leste will remain high and that more effort goes into ensuring all children access the program.
"Timor has very good line coordination with the hospitals, health centers and health posts to help communities, especially children, getting vaccinated," she said.
She added the government should also establish outreach programs that ensure families with children living in remote areas also access health services such as the immunization program.
It is her hope that all children in Timor-Leste are immunized.