Timor Leste Vocational Training Team report

Successful birth

Rotary Melbourne member Prof Jeremy Oats, recently returned from a visit to Timor Leste and has provided the following report on the Rotary International Vocational Training Team (VTT) Emergency Obstetric Care (EMOC) Fresher Courses.      

Professor Sue McDonald (President of Rotary Club of North Balwyn) and Jeremy Oats recently completed the last of the 21 Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Refresher Courses for Midwives and Doctors in Timor Leste conducted under the RI VTT. Programme.

It was planned to run courses in Lospalos and in Viqueque in 2020 but these had to be postponed with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The two were therefore combined and ran in Baucau with 50 attending from Lospalos, Viqueque and Baucau.

The teaching was done as had been for the last 10 courses by the team of 6 doctors and midwives that had been trained from Baucau and Dili, with our role being again that of mentors and supervisors.

There were some extra challenges for this visit that included the significant fall in the value of the Australian dollar against the US dollar that all payments have to be made in in TL, marked increases in airfares and Covid-19 that struck one of us at the end of the first day.

This final course was only made possible by the generous grant given by the Board of East Timor Roofing that covered over 80% of our costs.

This brings to a conclusion the 21 courses we have run predominantly in the Eastern Districts of Timor Leste, but also on Maliana, Liquica, Arturo and Ermera in the west.  In these 11 years, over 500 midwives and doctors have participated in the training programme that has concentrated on the management of the principal causes of conditions that cause maternal and neonatal mortality and severe morbidity.

The need for such ongoing refresher courses remains obvious, with the current paucity of any such training evident. We are planning to explore possible ways to continue supporting such training in the future until TL is in a position to self fund them.

By Jeremy Oats Co-Team Leader

Attendees with their certificates

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