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ChildFund is supporting vaccination efforts in remote Timor-Leste

As the global pandemic continues to impact millions of lives around the world, ChildFund is working with the Timor-Leste Ministry of Health to make sure communities in remote and rural areas can access the vaccine and stay safe from COVID-19.

As of August 2021, Timor-Leste reported 11,100 cases of COVID-19 and 26 recorded deaths. Case numbers continue to rise every day.

When the AstraZeneca vaccine was developed, the country relied on international aid to provide enough doses to vaccinate their entire population. Earlier this year, with support from the Australian Government, they began distributing the vaccine to frontline healthcare and essential workers.

The vaccine was then rolled out to people in densely populated areas of the capital, Dili, before being distributed to remote and rural communities.

As part of its nutrition programs, ChildFund Timor-Leste is supporting the country’s Ministry of Health to vaccinate communities in disadvantaged, remote and rural communities in Lautem municipality.

Those who live in rural areas tend to be more hesitant about the vaccine. ChildFund is working with government partners on a public health campaign to make sure that these communities have access to reliable information about COVID-19, to dispel any misinformation about the vaccine, and to raise awareness about why the vaccine is so important for families to stay safe.

ChildFund has been helping to transport health professionals to remote areas to share information about the vaccine. ChildFund is also supporting government partners in the planning and logistics of vaccinating large numbers of people in these communities.

Paulino da Costa, ChildFund Health Assistant in Lautem, says they are still facing some challenges.

“When we approached people door-to-door many people told us they did not want to receive the vaccine,” she says. “This was due to the misinformation. But after we explained the benefits of the vaccine to them, and showed them some of the data, some of them agreed to get vaccinated.”

ChildFund has helped Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Health distribute vaccines in Iliomar and Lautem – with 11,562 people receiving their first dose and 970 people having received both doses.   

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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