Japan Trains Timorese Health Workers to Tackle Maternal Death Rate in Ermera Featured

By The INDEPENDENTE October 19, 2023 341

ERMERA: Japan is supporting the training up of tens of health staff across Ermera in an effort to reduce the number of women who die in childbirth, one of several maternal, reproductive and child health projects lead by Japanese NGO ‘Frontline’ in partnership with Ermera Municipality of Health Department.

Statistics show Timor-Leste has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Asia, mainly due to delays in reaching emergency care.

According to most recent Timor-Leste Demographic Health Survey, 195 women die per 100,000 births in the country, equivalent to about four deaths every day, with just 57% of births attended by qualified health professionals.

Since 2021, Frontline has built the Guisarudu Health Centre Maternity Building and trained 25 health workers in Ermera, including ten workers now certified as obstetrics and gynaecology ultrasound practitioners, according to a joint people of Japan and Frontline statement.

This training marks the first-time obstetric ultrasound training has been established in Timor-Leste

At the end of the final year in 2024, some 35 trained health workers will be working in health facilities in Ermera supporting pregnant mothers access regular check-ups, give birth and receive antenatal care.

Timor-Leste’s health facilities – particularly in remote areas – can be difficult to access and may lack specialised health equipment because of challenges rebuilding a country’s health system.

The three-year health project is supported by the government of Japan in partnership with Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Health and National Institute of Health.

“This three-year project is now in its final year. I would like to encourage Ministry of Health, INS and Health Department of Ermera Municipality to make fully utilise of the maternity building, portable ultrasound machines and the obstetric ultrasound training for many years. I hope that these achievements will be shared even beyond Ermera Municipality,” said Kimura Tetsuya, the Ambassador of Japan to Timor-Leste.

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