ADRA Timor-Leste is focusing mostly on three of East Timor’s greatest and most basic needs:
- Water & Sanitation: Need for improved water sources
- Education: Need for a complete and comprehensive education
- Health: Reduction of mortality and disease
Water & Sanitation
Improvements in sustainable access to improved water sources were hampered by the political crisis in 2006, and this setback will make it difficult to reach the 2015 target of 78%. In 2007 only 60% of the population had sustainable access to an improved water source, and there was a sharp divide between urban and rural areas. Regarding access to improved sanitation, there has been significant improvement in both urban and rural areas and the country as a whole is likely to achieve the 2015 target.
Education standards in Timor-Leste have fluctuated over the past few years but in general the standard is poor. Only 65% of children enrolled for primary education in 1999 compared to the latest figure which shows an increase to 74% in 2007. Significant improvements are needed to provide the children of Timor-Leste with a complete and comprehensive education, in both rural and urban areas, and for both sexes equally. The target percentage for completion of primary education is 100% by 2015, and the most recent figure reported was 56% in 2003.
Health: Child Mortality
Timor-Leste’s child mortality rate not only shows the actual death rate for infant and under-five children, but in a wider sense describes the social and economic conditions of society.
Between 2001 and 2004 there was only a slight improvement in under-five mortality, from 144 deaths per 1000 births in 2001, to 130 in 2004, with a target of 96 by 2015. These children succumb to common diseases such as respiratory infections, malaria and diarrheal illnesses. There was a further deterioration during the same period in the infant mortality rate (below age one) with 88 deaths per 1000 births in 2001 to 98 in 2004. However, the progress since 2004 and its trend will be verified by the up-coming DHS-2010 that will indicate if the target of infant mortality rate of 53 will be reached with required pace of acceleration.
Health: Maternal Health
With the maternal mortality ratio of 660 maternal deaths based on the 2000 UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO estimates, Timor-Leste has made efforts through the past years to improve the quality of maternal health services. The developments of the National Reproductive Health Strategy and the National Family Planning Policy were milestones and provided a good approach in response to this issue. The training evaluation and refresher courses to health providers regarding clean and safe delivery, commencement of Emergency Obstetric Care essential to decrease the risk of complications and morbidity during delivery, and family planning has strengthened national capacity to ensure better quality services to pregnant women. The community has better access to skilled health workers, considered to be fundamental to good childbirth care.
At the moment, no definite trend could be deduced for maternal mortality since no survey has been done to provide this figure. However, the government is working to improve access of pregnant and birthing women to health care and health facilities. The planned 2010 Demographic Health Survey will be able to reflect the current situation. The target of 252 per 100,000 by 2015 could be realized if continued priority will be given to Reproductive health, including Safe Motherhood.
Disease continues to be a major problem for the people of Timor-Leste, often due to lack of access to health services. Common diseases include respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, as well as malaria, dengue fever, tuberculosis and leprosy. In 2007 there was a 10% prevalence of malaria, but little improvement in the treatment and prevention of the disease between 2001 and 2007.
Another emerging problem is HIV/AIDS and work must be done to educate the population on the risks of the disease and effective preventative measures. There has been significant improvement in this area, with about one fifth of the adult population both using condoms and in monogamous relationships in 2007.
From “2009 The Millennium Development Goals, Timor-Leste” which is published jointly by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the United Nations System, 2009.