The Project

Our Lady of Fatima Railaco Jesuit Parish has requested a registered nurse to provide primary health care and health/nutrition education. Nutritional support and education is currently provided through Railaco Clinic’s Feeding program [Klinika Na’i Feto Virgem Maria].  The church-based clinic was built at the request of the village council, with the approval of the Dili Diocese.  Fr Martin Abad Santos SJ who is a qualified medical doctor, treats the overflow of patients from the government clinic on an ad hoc basis.  He also operates a mobile clinic 3 times per week  in Gmanhati, Nasuta, Leorema, Fahiten, Leboloa, areas belonging to Liquisa district –  Dasarlaco, Tocoluli, Caitarahae, Cocoa, Lebdodon, Taraso, and areas in Railaco. The role of the registered nurse will include assisting with the mobile clinic, mentoring and skill development of Timorese clinic staff to help build capacity around running the Clinic, maintaining existing programs and establishing new health activities.  In addition to the Clinic, the Parish supports a secondary school – Escola Secondaria Católica Nossa Senhora de Fatima (NOSSEF).

The Location

Railaco is one of five administrative posts within the District of Ermera approximately 40 kms from Dili [Capital of Timor Leste].   The population of the mountainous Ermera municipality is estimated at 136,010 (Census 2015 – projection for 2019)  Languages spoken include Tetun, Mambae and Kemak dialects. Ermera is well-known as the municipality with the biggest coffee production in the country and some of it is exported internationally.  In addition, Ermera produces vegetable and fruits.

The Challenge

Approximately 30 per cent of the population of Timor-Leste lives below the poverty line of USD 88 cents a day.  Life expectancy in 2018 was 67 for males and 71 for females.   Malaria incidences in Timor-Leste have dropped dramatically in the last two decades, falling from a high of 223,002 cases in 2006, to zero cases in 2018.

The major health problems currently affecting Timor-Leste according to the World Health Organization include:

  • Tuberculosis (TB), which is a major public health problem. In 2017, there were an estimated at 498 cases of TB per 100,000 people. Nearly 50 per cent of cases in Timor-Leste go untreated.
  • A high maternal mortality rate.
  • Nutrition, with nearly 50 per cent of children under five experiencing stunting.
  • Limited access to clean water and basic sanitation, which contributes to the spread of infectious diseases, such as diarrhea.
  • Sexually transmitted infections(STIs), which are common in sexually active age groups, mostly in the Dili and Baucau districts.

About You

Railaco Catholic Parish has requested a suitably qualified and experienced nurse. The successful candidate must demonstrate:

  • Qualified Registered Nurse with a minimum of 2 years’ nursing experience
  • Experience working with children and families
  • Some knowledge or experience in developing countries [Desirable]
  • Willingness to work in Timor Leste for a minimum of 12 months [preferably two years]
  • Willingness to engage their Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role
  • Have a willingness to learn Tetum

How You Will Help

A Palms Australia participant will provide medical/health assistance through primary health care and the training/mentoring of Timorese Clinic staff.

Health promotion/awareness programs will be developed and delivered in addition to the existing Feeding Program.  The Feeding Program is focused on providing nutritious food for children in rural and remote villages in Railaco.  The program creates an opportunity to promote the preparation and nutritional benefits of healthy food.

Featured image: Dr Andrew Leong (Palms Aust Participant) and Railaco Parish Clinic Staff Member (2013)


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.

To find out more or to apply, please contact Christine O’Halloran, Program & Placement Coordinator on 02 9560 5333 or at [email protected].

Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    I am not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand.I am a citizen of Australia or New Zealand.
    * 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.