Australia — Medical assistance programs changing lives in East Timor

Vil­lagers in East Timor’s remote Oecus­si enclave have received life chang­ing med­ical sup­port through a mul­ti-nation­al med­ical pro­gram deliv­ered by the US-spon­sored Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship 2010 (PP10), the Inter­na­tion­al Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Force (ISF) and the East Tim­o­rese Defence Force (F‑FDTL), with sup­port from the Defence Coop­er­a­tion Pro­gram (DCP).

More than one thou­sand vil­lagers were treat­ed over three days, and two chil­dren with life threat­en­ing ill­ness­es were imme­di­ate­ly evac­u­at­ed by heli­copter to Min­istry of Health hos­pi­tals.

The Oecus­si activ­i­ties were part of an ongo­ing cam­paign of Med­ical Civic Action Pro­grams (MED­CAPs), which was estab­lished to pro­vide care for ill vil­lagers and train local health providers oper­at­ing under the F‑FDTL and East Tim­o­rese Min­istry of Health.

The Oecus­si MEDCAP was the focus for the August cam­paign, and vil­lagers from Nitibe, Maque­lab, Oalka­en and Baqui received crit­i­cal med­ical treat­ment.

Bris­bane-based Aus­tralian Defence Force Med­ical Offi­cer Cap­tain Carl Bryant, who is cur­rent­ly deployed to the ISF, said MED­CAPs not only improve the well­be­ing of indi­vid­u­als, but build the com­mu­ni­ty.

“We facil­i­tate the East Tim­o­rese in trans­port­ing their med­ica­tion and staff out to areas they can’t get to and we also help build the capac­i­ty of the F‑FDTL to help their own peo­ple in the plan­ning and run­ning of med­ical sup­port pro­grams.

“Height­en­ing the abil­i­ty of the min­istry of health and F‑FDTL through train­ing ensures we are hav­ing a long-last­ing impact on the peo­ple and that real­ly makes it worth­while,” Cap­tain Bryant added.

Unit­ed States Navy Com­man­der Peter Shu­mak­er, Offi­cer in Charge of the PP10 led MEDCAP at Baqui said optom­e­try, den­tal, der­ma­log­i­cal, con­gen­i­tal and sur­gi­cal con­di­tions have been assessed.

“We have seen a full range of con­di­tions but work­ing with our part­ners has been tremen­dous. It is the rea­son we are here. It’s also a vehi­cle to strength­en ties and increase the inter­op­er­abil­i­ty between our­selves, the ADF and F‑FDTL,” said Com­man­der Shu­mak­er.

PP10 is in East Tim­or con­duct­ing human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance endeav­ours for two weeks.

Australia’s DCP with East Tim­or, in coor­di­na­tion with the ISF, is assist­ing the Gov­ern­ment of East Tim­or to strength­en the capac­i­ty of its nation­al defence force and Sec­re­tari­at of Defence.

Media con­tact
Defence Media Liai­son 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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