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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Governance and Health Services Restoration: East Timor

Arturo Sanabria, c/o BASICS, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 850, Arlington, VA 22203, 703-312-6800, doel@laneta.apc.org

Timor-Leste has the lowest per capita GDP in the world ($400/year) with over 40% of its population living below the poverty line of 55 US cents per day. Unemployment exceeds 50%, and 80% of the population is under 18 years. When Timor-Leste became an independent nation in 2002 after a long struggle for independence, it needed to rebuild more than the 70% of the health sector infrastructure and restore essential services across the country. It faced other challenges as well: speeding up reconciliation, building a democratic political culture, instilling the rule of law, and creating an economy that can provide sustainable livelihoods. Despite the efforts of the Government and the international community, Timor Leste again spiraled into violence in 2006. The reoccurrence of violence interrupted the restoration of health services and provides new insights into the complex interface between governance and health services. Currently, more than 150,000 of the country's one million people are internally displaced (70,000 in Dili and 80,000 in other districts), and the country's overall health situation remains very weak. The international community is primarily focusing its attention on the internally displaced population; however, the rest of the country also lacks access to essential health services. The international commitment to long-term peace-building processes must be redoubled, as should efforts for reintegration and development. It is vital that these processes pay attention to all the essential needs of the population, particularly health and nutrition.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

The Impact of Conflict on Health Systems

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA