Timor-Leste is one of the newest countries in the world, having gained independence in 2002 after a long and violent struggle with Indonesia that devastated much of the country’s infrastructure. JSI has worked in Timor-Leste since 2005, beginning with the BASICS and IMMUNIZATIONbasics projects, which supported the Ministry of Health to expand effective, proven newborn and child health interventions. In 2016, Timor-Leste was rated as the most improved of 188 nations in the health-related Sustainable Development Goals index for the period 2000-2015 by the United Nations.
Through the USAID-funded Timor-Leste Integrated Health Assistance (TAIS and TAIS II) projects (2008-2011), JSI provided technical support to MOH to improve integrated services, including immunization, integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI), malaria, newborn care, nutrition, and family planning, with a focus on improving child health. TAIS II contributed significantly to the shaping of national child health policy with an emphasis on improving quality of care. JSI also implemented activities funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation in support of immunization work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
JSI successfully implemented the Timor-Leste Health Improvement Project (TL-HIP), supporting the Ministry of Health to improve health services, particularly for maternal, newborn, and child health, in three target districts: Ermera, Manatuto, and Oecusse. TL-HIP worked closely with the Ministry of Health to improve planning, quality improvement processes, health promotion, use of data, and facility readiness to increase access to high quality care. The project also worked to increase engagement at the community level around health issues, especially maternal health and family planning, and completed important maternal health research in 2016.
Currently, JSI implements the Reinforce Basic Health Services Project, known locally as Hakbi’it. The project aims to promote integration of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) interventions while providing technical assistance (TA) to the MOH to strengthen health systems, improve and sustain service quality and raise demand for services. Hakbi’it works at the national level as well as to establish one model district, and uses existing data and original research results to drive program decision-making.
JSI’s work in Timor-Leste exhibits our approach to identifying key research needs and striving to introduce innovative solutions. Through TL-HIP, JSI conducted important research into context-specific factors that contribute to delays in reaching care during obstetric emergencies to help inform programming aimed at reducing Timor-Leste’s high maternal mortality rate. JSI worked with MOH to introduce the Non-pneumatic Anti-Shock Garment (NASG), a low-tech first aid device that slows bleeding in women with postpartum hemorrhage, stabilizing them until they are able to receive care. JSI’s NASG intervention in Timor-Leste was featured in the May/June issue of USAID’s FrontLines. Read “Health Innovations Save Mothers’ Lives in Timor-Leste.”