Subject: WHO warns public health work in Timor will end if no new funds found

WHO warns public health work in Timor will end if no new funds found

GENEVA, Oct 8 (AFP) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday its work to support public health in Timor would come to a standstill if no new funds are found.

"That would mean an effective end to public health coordination in East Timor," a WHO statement released here said.

WHO estimated last month that it would need nine million dollars to be able to continue its operations in Timor.

WHO staff support the health authorities in East Timor and offer technical guidance to other United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations.

They have also set up a communicable disease surveillance system.

"We at WHO have limited flexibility to take money away from other priority health areas so we have to raise the money for an emergency such as this one from extraordinary sources," said Dr Xavier Leus, WHO director of emergency and humanitarian action.

WHO staff are working in East and West Timor thanks to money already found by the organization and a 300,000 dollar donation by the Italian government.

"But the Italian donation has run out and if we do not get additional funds we will have to scale down and eventually cease our operations there," he said.

The WHO request for nine million dollars is part of an overall UN appeal, due to be officially launched later this month, but the WHO said it needed the money now.

WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland said: "Humanitarian aid and reconstruction without the public health component will be partial and will fail to address the needs of people and communities,

"WHO is ready to play its role in Timor. The challenge now is to get support from donors," Brundtland said.

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