DILI, 09 july 2021 (TATOLI)– Government of Timor-Leste in partnership with humanitarian partners officially launched a joint appeal in june to address the unsettled humanitarian needs for the most vulnerable following floods disaster that affected over 30.000 households already burdened by ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – with women and girls mostly affected.

As the world marks World Population Day, the pandemic has worsened gender inequities and gender-based violence, with increased incidence of violence under lockdowns, while causing serious gaps and challenges in the provision of sexual and reproductive health information and services

“COVID-19 has laid bare stark inequalities and weaknesses in healthcare systems within and among countries,” referred press release of  the UNFPA on behalf of World Population Day, accessed by TATOLI, today.

“The crisis has caused many overstretched health systems to scale back sexual and reproductive health services, which are often not deemed essential. While these services are a human right, they have been put aside in favor of more “pressing” concerns,” said UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem.

According to UN Social Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) of report 2020, during the national emergency in Timor-Leste, 14 percent households who have children below 10 years old, missed a vaccination – with over 97 percent of these coming from vulnerable households.

Also 40 percent of households had a woman aged between 15 and 49 in need of family planning or reproductive health services.

Notably, women in more vulnerable households missed out on the services more frequently than those in non-vulnerable households.

The findings linked missed vaccinations and reproductive health services to repurposing of Community Health Centers for COVID-19 readiness, interruption to public transportation, restrictions on movements and lack of masks for people to safely interact.

“Let us take action to close these gaps, because sexual and reproductive health services are essential. Even if health systems are understandably strained, these services cannot wait. Any further delays will curtail the health and well-being of women and girls, consequences that can last a lifetime,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem.

“Let us work together to uphold the right to decide when and if to have a family and let us stand up for the rights and choices of all women and girls.”

However,  World Population Day is observed annually on 11 july to focus the attention on the urgency and importance of population issues.

World Population Day, which seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, was established by the then-Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11 july 1987.

Jornalista: Camilio de Sousa

Editor: Rafy Belo


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