Sustainable Development Goals

The Project

Instituto Filhas de Maria Auxiliadora (IFMA) Clinic connected to the vocational training centre St Mary Mazzarello is requesting a medical doctor to strengthen capacity and provide primary health care for students and the local community across Venilale and surrounding communities.

The Location

Venilale, a small village/town situated in the hills, located about 30km south of Baucau.  The Venilale subdistrict has a population of around 16,000 people and has an area of 151.37 km. It comprises 8 sucos: Bado-Ho’o, Baha Mori, Fatulia, Uailaha, Uai Oli, Uatu Haco, Uma Ana Ico, Uma Ana Ulo.   The nearest regional hospital is located in Baucau with 227 staff [98 nurses, 12 assistants, 22 midwives, 25 doctors and two specialists].

The Challenge

Timor-Leste today is a free and sovereign nation. It has achieved great progress in maintaining peace and stability, building democratic institutions, expanding public services to reach rural and remote areas, and improving basic infrastructure such as electricity, roads, and other facilities. But the country still faces numerous challenges.  Building a foundation for sustainable economic development is one of them.  Currently Petroleum continues to provide 85% of annual revenues and spending.  Domestic revenues provide only 20%, which suggests that the country cannot depend on the domestic economy to finance its activities, a challenge widely acknowledged by the country’s politicians.

Approximately 30% 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.

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

  • Tuberculosis [TB] which is a major public health problem. In 2017 there were an estimated 498 cases of TB per 100,000 people. Nearly 50% of cases in Timor go untreated.
  • A high maternal mortality rate
  • Nutrition with nearly 50% of children under five experiencing stunting
  • Limited access to clean water and basic sanitation, which contributes to the spread of infectious diseases such as diarrhoea.
  • Sexually transmitted infections [STIs], which are common in sexually active age groups, mostly in Dili and Baucau districts.
  • As of April 12, 2021 Timor has 947 reported COVID-19 cases

About You

The successful candidate will:

  • Be a qualified, registered medical practitioner
  • Have experience working in rural and remote health
  • Provide primary health care and community education
  • Support and train clinic staff
  • Have a willingness to learn Tetum

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:

  • developing the skills of clinic staff
  • providing health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and referral to regional hospital where required.

Featured image: Damian Rake, former Palms Participant in Hatubuilico, Timor Leste

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.