Education: A total of 346 school-in-a-box kits, 63 tarpaulins for temporary shelter for schools; 1,187 UNHCR kitchen kits for school feeding and 340 bongo drums were distributed by UNICEF and its implementing partners on 21 March to Aileu, Baucau, Dili, Ermera, Lautem, Liquica and Viqueque.
Employment: The USAID-funded Temporary Employment Programme (TEP), which is implemented in co-operation with UNTAET, has commenced in the four Districts of Aileu, Ermera, Liquica and Lautem. More than 1,350 Timorese, mostly youth, are currently employed in community improvement activities such as minor road repair, market improvements, clearing of drainage systems and rehabilitation of sports facilities. Additional activities identified in Manatuto, Baucau, and Viqueque will begin shortly. In Dili, workers will begin the clean up of the national stadium, the University of East Timor, and the municipal pool in the next 7 days. It is anticipated that all 13 District will be engaged in the TEP, as the programme becomes fully operational in April.
Shelter: Distribution of UNHCR shelter kits is ongoing in 10 of the 13 Districts of East Timor with shelter programme activities due to begin in Bobonaro District in April. On 22 March, the unloading of 1,500 shelter kits were unloaded in Suai, for distribution in Covalima District by TIMOR AID. Some 950 MTs of cement was also offloaded at Dili port. To date, 1,061 shelter kits have been distributed in Lautem District, 63 in Baucau, 440 in Aileu, 465 in Oecussi, 990 in Liquica, 483 in Manatuto, 65 in Ermera, 133 in Dili, 54 in Manufahi and 116 in Ainaro District. Of the total of 3,870 shelter kits distributed, 710 beneficiaries have completed construction of their shelters. Under its shelter programme, the NGO World Vision has distributed 550 kits of roof sheeting in Atsabe sub-district, Ermera District. The timber nails and tools for these kits will be distributed by the end of March.
Health: 24 March marks World Tuberculosis Day (commemorating the Day that Dr. Robert Koch discovered the TB bacterium in 1882). The national TB programme for East Timor commenced in February. In Dili patients are being treated in the clinics at Bairo Pite, Becora and Motael, and in the two hospitals (Tokubaru and Dr. Antonia Carvalho), as well as the PAS hospice. Treatment is also proceeding in Venilale Caritas clinic in Baucau District, the Lospalos Hospital, the Lospalos parish clinic and the Fuiloro Clinic in Lautem District, and in the parish clinic in Maubisse in Aileu District. There are 557 patients on TB treatment: 338 adultes and 219 children. Of the 378 adult patients, 161 are smear positive TB and the rest are smear negative or extrapulmonary cases. Plans are in progress to expand TB services to five more Districts in May, and to the remaining Districts by September.
The rehabilitation of the central pharmacy in Dili has been completed. The first shipment of drugs has arrived. The pharmacy will be opened with an official ceremony in the first week of April.
The concern about dengue haemorrhagic fever continues. One child was admitted to the Tokubaru Hospital in Dili on 15 March. He had very recently returned from Kupang and most likely acquired the infection there. An expatriate adult was also diagnosed with dengue haemorrhagic fever during the same week, and was evacuated to Darwin for further treatment.