Medical Clinic, Timor-Leste – supporting the community through COVID
The Order of Malta Medical Clinic in Timor-Leste has been able to keep its doors open all through the COVID crisis, with only some brief periods of closure and deep cleaning due to infection scares. This meant that even during the many months that Dili was locked down, the Clinic remained open to address the health needs of the local community.
The true experience of COVID in Timor-Leste remains unclear. While the World Health Organisation records fewer than 20,000 total cases, and only 122 deaths, this is undoubtedly an understatement. Those closer to the ground in Dili and the Districts estimate that at its peak, there were at least 100,000 live cases, and there are many stories of those – particularly older Timorese – who developed undiagnosed respiratory illness and subsequently died.
During this time, the Order of Malta Clinic has delivered on its mission of providing free health care to the poorest in Timor. A focus on maternal and infant health, with regular nutrition clinics, continues to address the persistent problem of malnutrition. Unfortunately, while the Clinic receives regular supplies of infant nutrition supplements, there is no corresponding supply of supplements for pregnant women and nursing mothers: addressing this gap is a priority for 2022.
In 2022 the clinic will see the execution of our COVID-delayed initiative to go beyond the walls of the Clinic, to provide health care, nutritional support and education directly to the community. Recently a new MOU was signed with the Timorese Ministry of Health to extend the Clinic’s role within the public health system, via mobile Clinic services.
This has involved the purchase of a third ambulance to be used as a mobile Clinic, and a third doctor will be employed, as well as a new nurse and midwife in the first quarter of 2022. The Clinic is particularly grateful to the Global Fund for Forgotten People for funding the new ambulance.
Moving beyond the physical Clinic is important because many Timorese are unable to attend: either they lack transport; they must work; or because for many pregnant women, they already have multiple children at home to look after.
Please consider a tax-deductible donation to assist the Order of Malta Clinic in Timor-Leste.