The Ministry of Health (MS) and health development partners have evaluated health achievements in Timor-Leste during the last five years from 2012 to 2017.

Ministry of Health (MS) and health development partners have evaluated health achievements in Timor-Leste during the last five years from 2012 to 2017.

The Director General for Health Performance at the Ministry of Health Doctor OdeteViegas said the assessment aimed to determine the level of progress and the remaining challenges so a new health strategy can be developed for the next five years for the health sector.
She said that the ministry’s efforts have yielded significant health progress, such as the elimination of malaria, the reduction of maternal and child mortality and the reduction of malnutrition.
Besides, she said infrastructure and human resources development in the health sector has also had significant progresses with Timor-Leste boasting over one thousand doctors placed in health posts across the whole territory.
She added that another achievement is with the Health in the Family program whereby most families in the country have had contact with medical teams and their data has been digitalised and is stored in the e-health system.
She acknowledged that several services still need to be improved such as the medicine distribution mechanism because communities continue to complaint about the lack of medicines in health facilities.
"We have tried to find the solution for medicine distribution to health facilities and to identify medicines that are running out, with procurement of medicines, but everything depends on the processes in place,” said Dr Odete.
On behalf of the government, she thanked health development partners including UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, for their continued support to the health sector.
Meanwhile the Health Director of Ermera Municipality, Doctor HerculanoSeixas said during last five years, Ermera Municipality Health has managed eliminate malaria incidence in 2016.
He said, based on the criteria from the World Health Organization (WHO) an area is defined as malaria-free if during three years in a row, the area did not report any malaria cases.
"In Ermera municipality, several administrative posts are free from malaria including Lete-Foho since 2010 and until now there has not been a case of malaria," he said.
He said despite elimination they will continue to survey and prevent any new cases by providing civic education to communities, conduct surveillance and control the vectors. They will also continue distributing mosquito nets to families.
He said another significant progress related to an increasing in the rate of family planning to 75% and vaccination for children under of the age of five reaching 90%.
Meanwhile the Health Director of Dili Municipality Agostinha da Costa Segueredo said Dili Health has improved its infrastructure and now there is adequate space to provide health care to communities.
She added that a fear years ago, all manner of cases were referred to the national hospital but with new beds and 24 hours health care services provided, this is no longer needed. Another 18 health posts have also been built in the community across the country, and this means patients will not have walk so far to get access to health services.
Regarding Malaria, in Dili it has not yet been eliminated because one of two cases are still being registered, in particular in the island of Atauro administrative post.
"We remind them when travelling to areas such as Alor for fishing, to take their mosquito nets so they do not bring malaria back home,” she said.
She added Dili Municipality health is also in the process of preliminary elimination of measles.