Sustainable Development Goals

The Project

Centro de Saúde Daniel Ornelas (CSDO – Jesuit Social Service Health Centre) has requested a medical practitioner to provide primary health care, a weekly mobile clinic and health education programs in rural areas of Timor Leste.  Jesuit Social Service public health goal is to “…develop public health interventions in the rural areas where there is poor access to health care”.

The Location

The Centro de Saúde Daniel Ornelas (CSDO) health centre was inaugurated in 2017 as part of the healthcare project of the Jesu­its in Timor-Leste.   Besides providing medical services to the students and staff of Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola (CSIL) and Instituto São João de Brito, the health centre will also reach out to the local community of Ulmera and the greater Liquiçá district, where medical services are very limited.  CSDO is located in Kasait a rural area within the Ulmera District, approximately 18 kilometres from Dili.

The Challenge

In the remote villages and rural farming areas of Timor Leste, families are often living in extremely basic and poor conditions, leading to the development of a long list of health problems [Tuberculosis, Dengue and Malaria].   In many cases the nearest healthcare facility is simply too far away for people to travel safely resulting in often painful ailments left untreated and serious conditions detected too late.  Women and children in remote areas are particularly vulnerable to undiagnosed health conditions including malnutrition and birth complications.

  • Timor-Leste has one of the highest tuberculosis incidence rates in the world, at around 500 cases per 100 000 population. Poverty, poor living conditions, high smoking rates, chronic malnutrition, a lack of awareness, and stigma continue to fuel the epidemic.
  • The Timor-Leste Ministry of Health has reported 4,090 dengue fever cases through April 9, including 50 deaths. This includes 2,726 cases in the capital city of Dili alone. This compares to 1451 total cases reported in all of 2020 and 901 total cases in 2021.
  • Forty seven percent of children under five years of age are stunted, 8.6% suffer from acute malnutrition, and 23% of women of reproductive age (15 -49 years) are anaemic. Timor-Leste is a food-deficit country that imports 60% of its food, and agricultural productivity is low.
  • Similarly, lack of skilled birth attendants during pregnancy and child birth is a big challenge in addressing Timor-Leste’s high maternal and infant mortality rates in the region — 195 per 100,000 live births maternal mortality ratio and 30 per 1,000 live births infant mortality rate.

About You

The successful candidate for this position will have:

  • A Medical Degree [MBBS or equivalent] and
  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience
  • Experience in rural health [desirable]
  • Experience in developing and delivering health education programs [desirable]

How You Will Help

First you must be willing to learn from the local community.

Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations.  During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you.  You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.

You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from your own cultural lens to outline what is missing. So, you need to ask questions to enable you to learn from your hosts, rather than in ignorance make suggestions about how things can improve. Palms training will prepare you for this approach.

In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and what of your knowledge applies to:

  • assisting to bring a sustainable primary health care service to remote rural communities where health care is either not available or very limited.
  • providing health education programs that assist to improve the living conditions and further develop health knowledge of rural communities.


Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ.

Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    * Successful applicants must be available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and will not sponsor visas to attend this course. Read our FAQ for more.