Timor-Leste, Democratic Republic of
Timor-Leste’s current population of 1,114,534 people is one of the fastest growing in the world. By 2012, the population is expected to reach in excess of 1,219,992. Growing at an annual rate of 3.2%, the population is likely to double within the next 17 years. Timor-Leste has one of the highest fertility rates in the world with each women having on average 6.95 children. The population of Timor-Leste is predominantly rural: 74% of the population lives in rural areas. Those in urban areas are concentrated in a few cities, with the capital by far the densest: 64% of urban dwellers live in Dili. The population is also predominantly young: over 43% of the population is under 15 years old, and 16% are under the age of five. Life expectancy for East Timorese is low by regional standards: 60.5 years for females and 58.6 years for males. In terms of mortality rate, Timor-Leste has one of the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world with 660/100,000 women and the neonatal mortality rate in the country (38/1,000 children) is almost the half of the total infant deceases (88/1,000 children).
Overall, literacy and education levels are low, and are lower among women; more than half the women and more than 40% of men in Timor-Leste are illiterate. However, literacy rates are higher among the younger generations, reflecting the spread of education with time. Primary enrolment rates have increased significantly from pre-1999 levels, especially for girls. However, since 2005 they have fallen slightly again, and repetition and drop-out rates are high. Dependency ratios are very high, as only 36.6 % of the total population make up the labour force.The 2004 Census of Population and Housing showed that majority of the working population (70%) are involved in agriculture or other subsistence activities. Only 11% are employed in the formal sector.
UNFPA in Timor-Leste
The Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste recognizes the importance of reducing the country's high population growth rate and spacing births as a way to reach its goals of eradicating poverty and reducing the country's high levels of maternal, infant and child mortality. With the high fertility rate of the nation and a contraceptive prevalence rate of 19.8% for all methods, these has been identified to hamper the country's progress towards the achievement of its NDP objectives and MDGs and so it is for this reason that making quality family planning information and services available and accessible to all is important.
The UNFPA believes in this and thus support the Ministry of Health programme in
improving the knowledge and skills of health workers through training,
strengthening the country's commodity supply system to ensure that FP
commodities and supplies are always available and accessible to all and it’s
effort to provide culturally sensitive Family Planning/ birth spacing
information using UNFPA supported IEC, media materials through the National BCC
strategy in order to create an enabling environment to all couples, women, men
and young people specially in the most remote areas.
SAFE MOTHERHOOD INCLUDING EmOC
UNFPA TL supports the national safe motherhood programme in it’s effort to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality and improve the overall maternal health of the country. 2 major factors that contribute to the high maternal deaths in Timor are the low use of skilled birth attendants in delivery and lack of access to EMOC. According to the MOH Annual Health Statistics 2008, only 35.6% deliveries are delivered by health personnel.
The Ministry of Health recognizes increasing utilization of skilled birth attendants and timely access to emergency obstetric care (EmOC) are critical and significant interventions to the reduction of the MMR of the nation. To enable EmOC services to be available at the national, referral hospitals and Community Health Centers, UNFPA has supported four OB-GYN specialists to provide comprehensive emergency obstetric care at the hospitals.
Two Timorese general practitioners are receiving UNFPA fully-funded university scholarships for specialist training in obstetrics and gynecology to strengthen national capacity and eventually establish the foundation of Comprehensive EmOC upon their return to Timor-Leste. Currently, an EMOC trainer continuously provide training to midwives at the CHC level to ensure that these health workers will be accessible and available to offer Basic EMOC services at the Primary Health Centres and that more women with obstetric complications in remote areas will be reached and immediate obstetric intervention and referral be done.
ADOLESCENT REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
Timor-Leste is relatively a young population country. Because of this, young people are vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies, STI's/HIV/AIDS, exploitation and violence. Awareness of their sexuality and their reproductive health rights, together with the challenge of entering into relationships should they choose to, will require sensitive public health responses to allow these young individuals to enter society as mature responsible adults. UNFPA is collaborating with the Ministry of Education to support the development of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health module to be incorporated in the secondary school curriculum.
Timor-Leste is a low prevalence country with less than 0.2% of the adult population estimated to be HIV-positive, the number of cases increases especially in the country-border areas. UNFPA continues to work with the Ministry of Health and other key partners by providing technical assistance on HIV prevention and support for the provision of condoms. Logistics management of condom supplies is done as well as and conducting campaigns to promote condom use. UNFPA is working closely with NGOs in implementing programmes with most at-risk groups (MSM and FSW) in TL such as the HIV/AIDS programme in Becora prison.
POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES
UNFPA's Population and Development Strategies programme supports the work of its government counterpart, the National Statistics Directorate (NSD), through the provision of technical and financial assistance. The programme aims to develop the Government's capacity to address Timor-Leste's need for up-to-date and reliable population and socio-economic data. This has been achieved through the successful completion of Timor-Leste's first Population and Housing Census as an independent nation in 2004. The Census results have since been analyzed, published online, and disseminated countrywide through workshops held at the district level. The NSD is now working to prepare for Timor-Leste's second Population and Housing Census to be carried out in July 2010 - a priority for the Government of Timor-Leste. The Population and Development Strategies programme also contributed to the implementation of the Timor-Leste's Demographic and Health Survey 2009.
In Timor-Leste, gender-based violence is now recognized as a serious ongoing problem. The high prevalence of gender-based violence in Timor-Leste inhibits the ability of Timorese women to participate fully in the life of their nation.
UNFPA has been supporting the Office of Secretary of State for the Promotion of Equality (SEPI) and under the Prime Minister's office to 'Strengthen National Capacity to address Gender-Based Violence (GBV). UNFPA has supported the Government to carry out several activities aimed at preventing gender-based violence, such as coordinating the annual 16 Days Campaign, training the national police on nature of gender-based violence, producing television programmes and most importantly, by developing a Law against Domestic Violence, which was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 19 August 2009. This Law has recently been submitted to the National Parliament for debate.
UNFPA is providing ongoing support to civil society organizations in their provision of support services (medical, legal and psycho-social) to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. It also supports the Secretariat of State for the Promotion of Equality and the Ministry of Social Solidarity in chairing a Referral Network Service Providers Working Group, whose tasks include addressing individual service providers' concerns.