Dili, Timor-Leste – Timor-Leste is currently facing a surge of COVID-19 cases in different districts. In supporting the government's effort to fight COVID-19, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has donated more than 115,000 items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sanitation materials to Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste (CVTL) and Hospital Nacional Guido Valadares (HNGV) in Dili in July and August 2021.
The items distributed to CVTL and HNGV included protection gown, surgical cap, thermometer, goggles, coverall, soap bar, body bags, face shield, gloves, and surgical caps. The first distribution to CVTL was organized on Thursday, August 12th, 2021, while the distribution to HNGV was carried out on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021, both in Dili.
National Director of Forensic Unit of the HNGV Dr. Nilton Tilman said that as the COVID-19 referral hospital in the country, HNGV does not only treat COVID-19 patients but also assist other healthcare centres, which treat COVID-19 patients, with equipment and manpower. "The materials we received from the ICRC would be used by the hospital and also be re-distributed to other health centres which are in need," he added.
The CVTL, meanwhile, plans to distribute the items to the frontline healthcare workers, CVTL staff, and volunteers who are in the forefront of the COVID-19 fight, given the scarcity of resources in the country, President of the CVTL Madalena Hanjam said. However, she added that CVTL itself works more on the prevention campaign through sensitization and education to the communities.
"Our prevention campaign was initially focused on remote western region, which was considered as "red zone" due to the porous border with Indonesia. But with the recent community transmissions in municipalities in the centre and to the East, we expand our campaign to communities across the country. In this crucial time, every single support from any parts of the worlds to us is of a great help," Mrs Madalena said.
Deputy Head of ICRC Regional Delegation to Indonesia and Timor-Leste Benoit Chavaz said that the assistance to Timor-Leste is part of the ICRC global COVID response in more than 50 countries worldwide. He explained that with the disease spreading rapidly, health systems are likely to be under intense pressure, putting the lives of thousands of already vulnerable people in even greater danger.
"The ICRC's support focuses on regions and communities in which it can have the most impact. At all times, the ICRC ensures complementarity with other components of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, including CVTL in Timor-Leste and other partners," Mr. Chavaz added.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, ICRC has supported the CVTL with the sanitation equipment, including installation of hand-washing facilities at 13 CVTL branches. The organization is also in an intense communication with the CVTL to support it in working on vaccination program at the border areas of Timor-Leste.