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PRESS RELEASE December 4, 2020

Timor-Leste: New Support for National Health System to Boost COVID-19 Response

US$1m emergency project to focus on strengthening the country’s health system through increased surveillance and transportation equipment.

Dili, December 4, 2020 – The World Bank has approved a US$1 million emergency project for Timor-Leste to support the country’s fight against COVID-19. The grant will provide rapid support to better prevent and respond to the threat posed by the pandemic and strengthen existing systems to meet the challenge of future public health emergencies.

While Timor-Leste has not seen a large number of COVID-19 cases yet, there is a risk of a second wave of cases as economic activity resumes and countries reopen their borders. With this risk in mind, the emergency project will support the Ministry of Health to implement their COVID-19 response plan through better public health surveillance and transportation capacity.  

The Timor-Leste Covid-19 Emergency Support Project will improve the Government’s surveillance capacity by training health personnel, strengthening supervision, and facilitating the equitable distribution of essential supplies and commodities to health facilities.  It will also finance safe transportation by ambulance of COVID-19 cases and other patients in need, with the purchase of 11 ambulances to close the gap in underserved areas of the country.

 “We commend the Government of Timor-Leste for putting in place swift and effective measures that helped to address the immediate health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the population from a serious outbreak,” said Macmillan Anyanwu, World Bank Country Manager for Timor-Leste. “We are pleased to be able to provide this rapid support that will contribute to building resilience and further strengthen Timor-Leste’s health system to better respond to the pandemic and future public health emergencies.”

World Bank Group Response to COVID-19 

The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. It is supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs.

The World Bank Group is making available up to $160 billion over a 15-month period ending June 2021 to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans and $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.


In Dili
Matt Wilkinson