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The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security is working with the Government of Timor-Leste and partner organisations to strengthen capacities to prepare and respond to health security threats, including COVID-19.

A Joint External Evaluation of IHR core capacities in Timor-Leste was conducted in 2018.

The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security conducted Scoping Missions in the region in 2018, which provided recommendations to inform priorities and propose areas for investment. In March 2019, DFAT opened a call for proposals for activities through the Pacific Infectious Disease Prevention (PIDP) and ASEAN-Pacific Infectious Disease Detection and Response (APIDDaR) programs and in 2020, partners will commence activities to prepare and respond to major health security threats, including COVID-19.

Australia provides assistance and support for health in Timor-Leste through a program of partnerships for human development. To prepare and respond to COVID-19, Australia provided shipments of PPE and medical supplies to Timor-Leste and the Pacific. The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security provided additional grant funding to Menzies School of Health Research and Maluk Timor Australia, to support efforts led by Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Health. Additional funds were provided to the Country Office of the World Health Organization in Dili for technical assistance, medical supplies and PPE.

The following regional programs have been developed to build health security capacity in Timor-Leste:

  • Pac Mossi, a project to build capacity for evidence-based sustainable vector surveillance and control in the Pacific, implemented by James Cook University.
  • Development and delivery of training modules across Timor-Leste to improve infection prevention and control in healthcare settings, through Advancing Surveillance and Training to Enhance Recognition of Infectious Disease (ASTEROID), led by Maluk Timor Australia in partnership with Catalpa and Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Health.
  • Health systems research through Surveillance Training, Research Opportunities and National Guidelines for communicable disease control in Timor-Leste (STRONG TL), which will develop and implement national communicable disease surveillance guidelines for Timor-Leste. This project is led by Menzies School of Health Research, in partnership with the National Institute of Health and National University of East Timor. Menzies School of Health Research has also provided support to improve testing capacity at the National Health Laboratory in Dili.
  • Health systems research through the Tropical Partnerships to Enhance Surveillance and Response to Infectious Diseases project, to study patterns of infectious disease spread and strengthen health systems responses to communicable disease. This research is led by James Cook University.
  • Support for collective action to eliminate malaria across Asia and the Pacific through the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA), and funding for the APLMA/APMEN Secretariat to deliver advocacy and provide policy guidance.
  • Support to expand immunisation in the Pacific through the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA), led by the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS). ARIA has also been fundeed to conduct seroprevalence surveillance for COVID-19 and targeted vaccine preventable diseases (measles, rubella and hepatits B) in response to a key surveillance priority identified by the Ministry of Health.
  • The PRIME-TB (PNG and the Republic of Indonesia for the Micro-Elimination of TB) program, which will establish micro-elimination and outbreak response sites in the Papua province of Indonesia and across the border in Papua New Guinea, led by Burnet Institute. Participants from Timor-Leste will be invited to join training and networks.
  • Training in surveillance and outbreak investigation for veterinarians and the para-veterinary workforce, delivered by the University of Sydney and Charles Sturt University, which will include the development of online training modules. 
  • Volunteer deployments with partner organisations in Timor-Leste through the Health Security Corps, including a specialist role with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.